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Summary: If you want to develop joyful generosity, start by giving your self to the Lord. Then give your songs to the Lord, then your substance to the Lord.

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Several men in the locker room of a private exercise club were talking when a cell phone laying on the bench rang. One man picked it up without hesitation, and the following conversation ensued:

“Hello?”

“Honey, It's me.”

“Sugar!”

“I'm at the mall two blocks from the club. I saw a beautiful mink coat. It is absolutely gorgeous! Can I buy it? It's only $1,500.”

“Well, okay, if you like it that much.”

“Thanks! Oh, and I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new models. I saw one I really liked. I spoke with the salesman, and he gave me a great price.”

“How much?”

“Only $60,000!”

“Okay, but for that price I want it with all the options.”

“Great! Before we hang up, there's something else. It might seem like a lot, but, well, I stopped by to see the real estate agent this morning, and I saw the house we had looked at last year. It's on sale! Remember? The beachfront property with the pool and the English garden?”

“How much are they asking?”

“Only $450,000, a magnificent price, and we have that much in the bank to cover it.”

“Well then, go ahead and buy it, but put in a bid for only $420,000, okay?”

“Okay, sweetie. Thanks! I'll see you later! I love you!”

“I love you, too.”

The man hung up, closed the phone's flap, and raised it aloft, asking, “Does anyone know who this cell phone belongs to?” (John Fehlen, Stanwood, Washington; www.PreachingToday.com)

It’s easy to be generous with someone else’s money; but when it comes to giving your own resources, it’s not so easy. Is it? And that’s especially true if you don’t have a whole lot to give. Many of you want to be generous; but between paying the bills, the taxes and the insurance, you don’t have much left to give.

So how do we learn the secret to joyful generosity especially when our resources are so tight?

Well, let’s see how God’s people in Nehemiah’s day did it. They were poor people, having just been uprooted from their homes in Babylon. They’re trying to eke out a living in a land that had been ravaged by war. Now, they’re called upon to raise up a city to the glory of God, to rebuild the Holy City, the city of Jerusalem. However, they don’t have much to give. Even so, they find ways to be joyfully generous with what little they have, and God uses it to restore His fame in that place.

If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Nehemiah 11, Nehemiah 11, where we see the secret to their joyful generosity.

Nehemiah 11:1-2 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns. And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem. (ESV)

More than anything else, the city of Jerusalem needed live bodies within its walls. It needed a population of people within. After all, what good is a city without people?


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