Summary: Did you know that giving to God can be FUN? I didn’t think so. But it’s true. This sermon explains how giving to God can be fun.
How to Make Giving Fun
A Stewardship Sermon
January 15, 2017
Sparked by thoughts on preaching about giving by Robert Russell at http://thecharisgroup.org/2012/07/18/how-to-preach-on-giving-2/.
TEXT: 2 Corinthians 9:8 – “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”
This is the second and last sermon in a two-week series on giving to God. If you were here last week, today you will get a fuller, deeper understanding of giving. If you weren’t here last week, well, this is why I normally preaching TWO sermons on giving—to make sure ALL are challenged on this important topic about giving to God.
Last week, I tried to lay down a theological foundation for giving, and we discussed two reasons people struggle don’t tithe—they struggle with God’s OWNERSHIP of all they have; and they struggle with God’s LORDSHIP by being obedient to give. Today, I’m not going to be theological; I’m going to be practical or informative. My thesis is this: Giving to God can and should be fun.
Now some of you just about fell on your face at that statement, but it’s true. The Bible talks about fun giving. We see it in our text. – The end of verse 7 says, “…For God loveth a cheerful giver.”
The Greek word for “cheerful” is hilarós [??a???], from which we get our English words hilarious and hilarity. Strong’s Enhanced Concordance says it means, “cheerful, joyous, prompt to do anything.” The Concise Dictionary of New Testament Words defines it as “…merry (“hilarious”), i.e. prompt or willing:—cheerful.” Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says hilarós, “signifies that readiness of mind, that joyousness, which is prompt to do anything; hence, cheerful (Eng., hilarious).”
I went a little overboard on the Greek sources because I want you to see all the nuances of this word. God is saying here that He doesn’t want giving to be this thing we do grudgingly and resentfully; He wants us to give cheerfully, joyously, merrily, hilariously, readily, willingly, eagerly, enthusiastically. Or to put it another way, God wants it to be fun!
Doesn’t that run counter to everything you’ve ever thought? You say, “Chuck, you don’t really expect us to really think giving is fun, do you?” Well, it is counter-intuitive, but really, isn’t the whole of the Christian life counter-intuitive? Think about it: Jesus said that he who loses his life for His sake will save it. He also said the first will be last and the last will be first. He likewise said, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” And Paul teaches that that we give up our lives to Christ to gain our freedom. So why would it surprise us that one way to have fun in life is to learn generosity?
Illus. – Think about your own spending. Don’t you spend some of your money to have fun? We go to the movies, the pool, Disney World or the beach. What are we doing? —We are spending our money to have fun.
Yes, but giving away money?—How can that be fun? Let me share two ways giving can become fun to you.
I. GIVING BECOMES FUN WHEN YOU KNOW YOUR GIFTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “All the church does is talk about money.”? Well, to start off, that’s not true. Most churches don’t talk ENOUGH about money. During our stewardship emphasis every January, I usually preaching one or two sermons about giving in general, and just before our Spring and Fall Missions Emphasis, I talk about giving to missions. Besides that—that’s it. Three or four sermons out of 52 messages is not “always talking about money.”
Illus. – But I have a bone to pick with the Red Cross. All they ever do is talk about money! Have you ever noticed that? If you get any mail from them it’s always at some point asking you to donate. In fact, if you look at it EVERY PIECE of mail or email from them, they ALWAYS ask for money.
How come no one complains that the every time the Red Cross contacts them, they’re always asking for money? The main reason is that we all agree with what they’re doing. We support their mission and we either do or don’t give, but no one ever complains that they always are asking for money. We get it that to do what they do—they need money.