Summary: A sermon on stewardship.
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN
“God loves a cheerful giver,” writes Paul to the Church in Corinth.
What a concept…
…That giving will make us happy!
But it’s the truth!
Anyone who’s ever dug down deep enough to give a gift—a gift that really costs something in money, time, or effort, and then has watched the smile of gratitude on the faces of those who receive—knows what it means to be a cheerful giver.
One of our Christian fathers from the past tells how, when he was a boy, a beggar came to the door.
His parents were out and he was alone in the house.
Please make a note that…this was a long time ago…
…children alone in a home should never open the door to a stranger.
Anyhow, this beggar comes to his door and on a boyish impulse he broke into his own piggy-bank and gave the beggar all that was in it.
He wrote that never before did he know such sheer happiness that engulfed him in that moment.
It feels wonderful to give…
…for in giving we bring joy…
not just to those who receive our gifts, but to us as well!
When Paul describes a “cheerful” giver, the Greek word he uses—hilaron—is related to our English word “hilarious.”
In some ways, I like “hilarious” better, because cheerful seems so low-key, so ordinary.
And the Gospel of Jesus Christ is anything but low-key and ordinary!
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is radical to the core!!!
So “God loves a hilarious giver”!
“Hilarious” is a great big belly laugh that swells and expands until our whole body is shaking!
“Hilarious” is not a chuckle; it’s rolling in the aisles!!!
There’s a whole new language that has sprung up with the advent of the internet and cell phone texting.
For instance, a lot of people write the letters lol, after they make a comment or receive a comment.
Lol, means “laughing out loud.”
There’s another one that people write when something is really, really funny or hilarious.
It’s rotfl which means: “Rolling on the floor laughing.”
That’s what I want to do, how about you?
God is looking for persons who will give, as Paul writes, “not reluctantly or under compulsion,” but “cheerfully” even “hilariously”!
And this kind of giving is something which comes naturally—it comes from the heart that has been pierced by the love of God.
It comes out of gratitude for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins!
He shed His blood!
He gave everything for us!
The God Who always was and always will be…
…The God Who created the heavens and the earth…
…The Lord of lords, the King of kings…
…Humbled Himself, leaving the majesty of Heaven—He came to this earth in human flesh, as a pauper, as a servant—and gave Himself entirely because of His love for us!!!
It wasn’t out of compulsion or reluctance that Jesus Christ gave Himself up for us—it was out of hilarious love!!!
And, because of this, we are inspired to love back and give generously, joyfully, happily, hilariously!!!
Giving back to God is not some grim situation—it is a gift, an honor, a privilege!!!
Paul writes, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
Christians are to be the happiest persons on this earth, for we have been given the greatest gift of love imaginable!!!
Therefore it is natural for us to give generously!
It is a joy, not a burden!!!
Someone once wrote,
“Giving makes me more like God.”
“Giving draws me closer to God.”
“Giving breaks the grip of materialism.”
“Giving strengthens my faith.”
“Giving is an investment in eternity.”
“Giving blesses me in return.”
“Giving makes me happy.”
An elementary school girl came home from an all-school track meet and told her mom that she won first place in the 100-yard dash.
“Where’s your ribbon,” her mother asked?
“I gave it away,” the girl replied.
“You gave it away?” the surprised mother responded.
“I thought you would have liked to hang that ribbon in your room, along with some of your other trophies.”
“Well, mom,” the girl replied, “it’s like this. There was a little girl in that race who ran the best she could but she didn’t win a ribbon. She felt bad, so I gave her mine.”
“And besides that,” the little girl added, “I don’t need a ribbon. I know I won!”
Did you know that you have already won?
If Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of your life—you have already won!!!
But what about those who do not know Him yet?