God's Hand in Giving
38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you."
What's your definition of Christianity?
Here's the definition according to Jesus: give, give, give.
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave. . .
Matthew 20:26, "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many."
Jesus said in Matthew 5:42
Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Going further in the New Testament, we find these words:
Romans 6;23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus."
Romans 8:34, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"
I have a story to tell you today
about a man named George Whitfield
This story takes us to England back in the 1700s.
Whitfield was going from town to town preaching the gospel.
One day as he was preparing to leave for his next preaching engagement,
he met a mother struggling to feed her family.
She was also about to be evicted for not paying rent.
Whitfield decided to help the woman.
He gave her ten guineas, all the money he had in his wallet.
That was a lot of money in those days
and by giving it away, Whitfield had nothing.
Whitfield and his companion rode off on horseback
toward the next town.
The man riding with him was angry with Whitfield.
Whitfield no longer had enough money to care for himself.
The companion thought Whitfield was foolish
to give his last few guineas towards the woman's rent.
The anger burst out in conversation as the two rode on.
The companion told Whitfield how irresponsible he had been.
Jesus Loves Those Who Give With The Right Attitude
2 Corinthians 9:7
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Our hesitancy to give
tells Jesus where our hearts are.
Remember the rich young ruler?
He wanted to become a follower of Jesus.
What did Jesus tell him?
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." 22But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!"
Jesus doesn't expect us to sell everything we have
and give it to the poor.
He doesn't want all of our money
He wants our hearts.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
George Whitfield was laying up treasurers in heaven
when he helped that poor widow.
What treasurers have we been laying up in heaven?
OR...do we have an attitude like the man who was traveling with Whitfield?
Jesus also tells of a widow who gave all.
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. 43So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
You see...it isn't the amount that we give.
It's how much of what we have that we give that counts.
Jesus wants us to have faith in Him.
He wants us to trust Him.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:2
with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
Our giving reflects our faith.
Riding between towns was dangerous in England in the 1700s.
Poverty forced many men to become a "highway man."
"Highway man" was a fancy term for a ruthless armed robber.
A "highway man" would ride up to his intended victim...
point his gun to the head of the victim...
and tell them, "Your money...or your life."
That was the call Whitfield was to hear
as he rode that lonely English highway.
But Whitfield had no money.
He had given it all to the poor widow.
The highway man took every guinea
from Whitfield's traveling companion,
but could take nothing from Whitfield.
As Whitfield and his companion rode on,
Whitfield asked, "Where would you rather your money be --
with the poor woman
or with the highwayman?"
"With the woman," the companion had to admit.
The companion's mood was sad.
He could now see that Whitfield had done the right thing
giving his last guinea to the poor woman.
They were both penniless now.
But Whitfield had done some good with his money.
JESUS WANTS US TO HELP THE POOR
He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD,
And He will pay back what he has given.
He who gives to the poor will not lack,
But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.
Jesus always had compassion on the poor and hurting people.
Jesus said an interesting thing in Matthew 11:5
The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Jesus wants His church to reach out to the poor.
James 2:2-6 says:
2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?
How do we feel about the poor at Gospel Chapel?
Are we ready to reach out to them?
Are we ready to make them welcome?
Are we ready to help them?
As Whitfield and his companion rode on,
the sound of galloping hooves came up behind them.
It was the highway man again.
"You may not have any money,"
he said with his gun pointed squarely at Whitfield.
"But that's a nice coat you have on there.
And it looks like the same size as mine.
Take it off! Give it to me!"
And before riding off,
the highway man threw him his old, smelly coat to Whitfield.
It was now Whitfield's turn to be sad.
He had given all his money to the widow.
And now he had lost his coat.
It doesn't sound like it pays to give...does it?
JESUS WILL BLESS OUR WILLINGNESS TO GIVE
Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,"
Says the LORD of hosts,
"If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.
God's blessings include:
the rewarding of our faith- "I will . . . open the windows of heaven, and pour out on you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it."
Do we believe that?
Do we have faith in God's Word?
If we have faith and give, Jesus will send us a blessing!
Let's check in again with George Whitfield and his companion.
The two men rode on in silence through the English countryside.
Then for the third time,
that silence was broken
by the sound of galloping hooves behind them.
It was the highway man coming back for them a 3rd time.
"Let's move," they shouted.
And the two galloped on, trying to reach the next town
before the highway man could catch them.
The run was successful.
They made the town and the chase stopped.
The highway man could not enter the town.
They were safe.
Point #4. We Shouldn't Give To Those Who Make Poor Choices.
1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
There are some people needing money that we should NOT help.
That would include those who won't work.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,
2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.
There are also those who waste what money they do have.
They have enough money to buy cigarettes, beer, illegal drugs,
expensive cellphones, internet services,
and expensive TV subscriptions.
They spend their money on things like that...
rather than pay their utility bills, buy good food,
and pay for other necessary items.
Forsake foolishness and live, and go in the way of understanding.
There is desirable treasure,
And oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man squanders it.
In Matthew Chapter 25, Jesus tells a parable.
1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' 7Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'
Jesus is saying we shouldn't give what we have to the foolish!
Well, let's see what happened to George Whitfield!
But why was the highway man chasing them again?
They didn't have too wait long to find out.
As Whitfield took off the smelly old coat,
he felt something in the pocket.
He investigated, and found 100 guineas in the coat.
All the highway man's ill-gotten gains were in that coat.
There was no way to get the money back to its rightful owners.
So the 100 guineas was Whitfield's to keep.
He had started the day by giving the widow two guineas.
As a direct result of that generosity,
he had ended the day with 50 times that amount.
God's hand moves in mysterious ways.
There are people who want our money
who are like the highwayman.
They won't work or they waste
what money they do have on things they don't really need.
Those are the people we should not help.
In cases where people are truly in need of help
we should do what we can.
Nevertheless, many Christians are afraid to give.
They are afraid they won't have enough to buy what they need.
But Jesus says in Matthew Chapter 6:
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.