Summary: Luke 12:15: “… life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot” (MSG).
Two weeks ago we started our new message series called, “Life Beyond Me” … and we talked about the art of loving … love is a value word … it in some ways has lost its meaning … and we were encouraged to build the 3 greatest loves of our lives … we should love God … Family and Friends … and The Unconvinced!
We have been learning about this thing called SELFISHNESS!
Selfishness (def.) = n: stinginess resulting from a concern for your own welfare and a disregard of others.
Someone once said, “Life is short, twill soon be past; only those things done for Christ will last.”
Last week we spoke about the “Art of Serving” – God has called all of us to SERVE him and his people! We talked about the life principle of SERVING IN THE SHADOWS – simply that we would serve for the applause of ONE person God! We were all challenged to SERVE at all times!
Tonight, I would like to speak with you about the ART OF GIVING!
Mother Teresa: “If you give what you do not need, it isn’t giving.”
A woman gave her son Billy 2 quarters. One was for his Sunday School offering. The other was for an ice cream cone on the way home from Sunday School.
Billy was flipping one quarter in the air and catching it on the way down. This happened 8 times or so when all of a sudden Billy missed catching it. It rolled down the storm sewer and was gone.
Billy looked skyward and prayed, "Sorry, God."...
Man, isn’t that kind of how we are today?
Choice – if we lose some cash, who usually loses? Or, if we see something we like and we have our tithe money in our pockets – what choice do we make?
Giving is a large part of our Christian commitment!
This is not just about money, either!
2 Corinthians 8:5-7: “Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever directions God might give them. So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to complete your share in this ministry of giving. Since you excel in so many ways--you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us--now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving” (NLT).
Did you know that GIVING is a ministry?
And I believe that it is a ministry all of us need to be involved in!
Have you ever seen the bumper stinker: “Honk if you love Jesus?” Well, there is a new one out – it says – “Tithe if you love Jesus any fool can honk.”
Giving is a biblical principle:
•God gave his people freedom from Egyptian control
•The Israelites gave a tithe (10%) to the Lord
•Abraham gave Melchizedek, the priest a tenth of everything
•Potiphar gave Joseph leadership responsibilities
•Moses gave the Lord’s share to the priest
•God gave Israel a land of promise
•The Lord gave messages to Samuel
•Saul gave David armor – even though it didn’t work!
•Jesus gave fish and bread to the large crowds
•The church in Acts gave to the widows and orphans
•The church in Corinth gave to help another church
Giving should become part of our DNA … we should all try to give at all times … but giving requires the right mindset.
What principle of life do we need to have in order to give?
It is the principle of stewardship!
You see, the truth is we see ourselves as OWNERS of all that we have, but in reality we are STEWARDS of what is owned by God!
It’s all his! Our clothes … our houses … our cars … our food … everything!
One day we are going to have to give an accounting of what we did … how we gave … and how we handled the resources God has given to us!
Martin Luther: “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.”
Let me give you two thoughts about STEWARDSHIP:
1. Everything you have is God’s – so don’t be afraid to give it away!
1 Chronicles 29:10-13: “So David praised the Lord in front of all the people. He said, "Honor and thanks be to You, O Lord God of Israel our father, forever and ever. O Lord, You have great power, shining-greatness and strength. Yes, everything in heaven and on earth belongs to You. You are the King, O Lord. And You are honored as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You. You rule over all. Power and strength are in Your hand. The power is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all. So now, our God, we thank You. We praise Your great and honored name” (NLV).