Summary: This message looks at how understanding what God has done for us, compels us to become generous as God's people. We cannot serve God and Money.
Living A Generous Life
Today we are in week six of our 40 Days of Community in which we have discovered we are Better Together as we work to build New Life At Calvary. Today we are going to talk about generosity. How many of you think our friend in the video clip was a generous person? I want you to imagine for a moment, that you were able to purchase your dream car. That car was everything you wanted. You were so eager to sign the contract that you did not bother to read it carefully. You were faithful making your payments, you only had four payments left. Then you lost your job. You struggled to find money to make the payments. You missed two of the payments.
You get up one morning, and hear a noise outside. By the time you get out the door, you see your car being briskly towed away by the repo man. You go to your uncle and explain your situation. He offers to give you the money. But the guy at the finance company says He doesn’t want your money. Read the contract. You find the original contract, and clear enough it says, if you miss two straight payments at any time in the contract, they have the right to repossess the car and to sell it. You say” but, I only have four payments left. This is so unfair.” The guy says” tough, we sold the car as we had the right to do. We make our biggest profits off of repo deals.”
How many of you are feeling a little angry and upset over this? How many of you would like to repo the repo man in a back alley. But let’s say you keep your cool. How would you feel if two years later, that guy that ripped you off and laughed in your face all the way to the bank showed up and said, “I know I cheated you out of your car. I’m sorry for that. Here is a certified check for four times the value of the car.” Now what are you thinking? Are you glad? Are you suspicious? Are you grateful are you wondering, “why on earth are you doing this? Or do you grab the check and run.”
What on earth, would turn a selfish, greedy and rich, businessman into a person of compassion and generosity? Person after person was asking this question during the time of Jesus in around around Jerusalem some 2100 years ago, after a notorious, rip off, greedy tax collector by the name of Zaccheus showed up at their door, with bags of money offering to pay them four times the amount he had cheated them out of.
Zaccheus could explain the give away of money it in just three words. “I met Jesus.” Zaccheus had been hiding in a tree waiting to get a glimpse of Jesus as he passed by. Zaccheus understood that when Jesus said, Come down immediately, I must stay at your house today, “Jesus was not just talking about the address where Zaccheus lived on 4959 Rich Man Circle in Jerusalem Heights.” He was talking about, Zaccheus himself. I must stay at your house. Jesus was wanting to enter the man himself.
When the people said, “Jesus has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Zaccheus, knew the presence of Jesus as a guest in his heart, had changed his heart from being a taker to a giver.” In response to the love that Zaccheus experienced from Jesus, he immediately declared, “Lord, here and now I give half more possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Our purpose statement starts out in response to God’s love, our purpose is. Our actions are based not on who we are, but on what God has done for us. Let me ask you something, how many of you have ever tried to bargain with God. God if you just let me past this test. I will….. God if you give me this job. I will…….. God if you let my boss not come in today. I wil…….l. God if I’ m not pregnant I promise, I will……….. God if you heal me or her, then I will.
We all make promises to God in our bargains, and then we don’t keep our end of the deal. We passed the test because we were smart. We got the job because the other person weren’t as qualified as we were. The boss was sick before we prayed. She went out with me, because of my good looks. But the next time we need God, we try to bargain again. How many of you would bargain with a person who has failed to keep their end of the deal time after time?