Summary: Message on giving using Paul’s thank you note to the Phillipians as the main text - Phil. 4:9-20
Giving: How To Trust God With My Resources
The whole point of this Survivor Series to identify the most necessary habits and disciplines Christians must keep if they hope to keep growing in their faith. Jonathan has shared three of those so far: Bible Study; Prayer; and Evangelism. Today I’ve been assigned the task of talking about Giving.
There is no doubt in my mind that Giving is “basic strategy” and a necessary habit for Christian growth. In some ways I believe giving is the first step to growth as a Christian. Even before Bible Study and Evangelism, giving must first take place. You can’t be saved until you give God your sin and your life. You won’t read your bible until you give God your time and attention. You can’t tell others about Jesus unless you are willing to give them the love and grace God has given you.
In fact, every step of growth you will experience as a Christian will be as a result of God giving himself to you in exchange for you giving yourself to God.
I know a lot of good pastors. God has blessed me with some great relationships with some great men who really love the Lord. Of all the pastor’s I know, I am not aware of one that gets excited about preaching on giving. In fact I wondered if Jonathan set this series up so he would be out of town for this message. People really seem to struggle with the whole giving thing. 2 Jokes - I saw this cartoon – (baptized with wallet above water).
With all the controversy and skepticism regarding corrupt preachers and money hungry evangelists, a talk about giving is rarely an exciting one to deliver. Yet these men of God will regularly grit their teeth and teach their people about the importance of giving. Why? There can only be two reasons why a preacher preaches on giving –
1. The pastor wants more money
2. The pastor loves his people enough to let them in on a key to living that will radically deepen and widen their lives
Let me assure you that the messages you’ve heard on giving in recent months have come from a sincere desire to help you experience all that God has for you
If you’re going to get this message this morning, you’ll need to move past cliché reactions to the subject at hand. God wants you to give your life to Him – which means everything, including the checkbook, your time and even the special abilities he has blessed you with.
He wants to learn about giving money, giving kindness, giving grace, giving time, giving mercy, giving up, and giving in…
The greatest kind of giving we can perform is “giving in” to God. Relinquishing our rights and trusting God’s plan.
This message will hopefully help us learn about giving the right thing at the right time in the right way and for the right reasons.
Three quick reasons why Christians must learn to give:
1. To Please God
2. To Be Like Jesus
3. To Experience Abundant Life
You see the meaning of life, is as best I can tell – very simple. We are here to love God with our lives. Every night when Ang and I pray with our little girls at bedtime, I always wind up saying the same thing. “Lord, help Sarah and Brooke love you with their lives.”
An important guy came up to Jesus and said – what is the most important thing God ever told us to do? Jesus said – “Love the Lord with your lives. With your body and your mind and your soul – give everything that you are, in love, to God.
So what does loving God have to do with giving? Everything. I have discovered that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.
So the issue of giving is fundamental to us. We will not be able to love God without giving Him our lives, our resources, our hopes, our rights, our jobs, our futures, our desires, our dreams, our bodies, our minds, our talents, our everything. To hold anything back from God is to withhold a measure of our love from God.
So when we talk about giving today – we are including everything you have something as small as money to something as important as your next breath of air.
I have tried to keep things in my hands and lost them all, but what I have given into God’s hands I still possess. - Martin Luther
When it comes to giving, some people will stop at nothing. - Jimmy Carter
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. - C. S. Lewis