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!!!