Summary: I used to think that teaching what God says about giving threaten people. But I’m finding that when people start applying these truths, it’s really not threatening, but thrilling. It’s not a drudgery; it’s a delight.
Maybe you’ve put something in the basket and then wondered, “What did I just do. I want to go get it back!” For sure, we’re glad that a camera is not fixed on us when we give. We’re even more glad that no one can read our thoughts when we give.
Giving. When I teach in a clear, direct, pointed way about money and possessions, that puts me in good company. You say, “Who’s that?” Jesus. Randy Alcorn wrote a book called “The Treasure Principle” and in it he shares that “15 percent of everything Christ said relates to this topic – more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined.” So I am in good company today with Jesus in talking to you about financial matters.
A pastor in California, David Jeremiah has said, “God speaks about baptism in 40 verses in the Bible, prayer in 275 verses, love in 650 verses, and finances, material possessions, and wealth in 2,350 verses. He speaks about wealth 88 times in Matthew, 54 times in Mark, and 92 times in Luke. Jesus knew that there is a fundamental connection between our spiritual lives and our giving. The word “give” is found in the Bible 1,500 times.
If we preached here at CVCC as much about giving as Jesus talked about it, we’d devote 7.7 Sundays a year to teaching on giving. So, we are well within our limits.
I used to think that teaching what God says about giving threaten people. But I’m finding that when people start applying these truths, it’s really not threatening, but thrilling. It’s not a drudgery; it’s a delight. Learning how to give really frees us up to be all that God wants us to be. And it increases our joy!
The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.
Proverbs 10:22 (ESV)
Now, you have to know that we are not teaching on this topic because we are financially strapped. We are not in budget trouble. In fact, you are such a generous people that you out-gave the budget last year. We ended the year in the black. Thank you!
And you need to know that I do not personally know who gives what here at CVCC. I don’t look in the books and I can’t even write a check.
The leaders at CVCC simply want you to grow in your wisdom regarding finances. That’s why we are looking at some truths about the wise use of money in the book of Proverbs.
This book not only talks about sharing your money, but also about using your money and #6 saving your money. You’ve already heard some of what it says about
earning your money.
Let’s face it, lots of people do not enjoy their jobs. Dilbert asks,
“How can I make my job more enjoyable?”
His answer? “Get a spouse who complains a lot and have a few kids.”
“That sounds awful.” “You won’t believe how much you enjoy being at work.”
God has a better idea about finding joy on the job.
Work expectantly. And you do all this not out of dutiful drudgery, but you work this way by connecting the dots between your job and Jesus. He’s our pattern and our power for work. He worked in creation and redemption and He works in intercession. We look to Him and we are transformed. He gives us joy on the job.
Now, once you’ve earned your money, you’ve got to share it. In Proverbs, God doesn’t wait too long to address the topic of giving. In two verses, very early in God’s little instruction book about living wisely are answers to may of our questions about giving. Let’s read.
9Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your product;
10then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Proverbs 3:9-10 (ESV)
We’re going to explore this verse by asking the who, what, why, when, where, how questions.
1. Who should give?
When you are thinking through a verse, it’s helpful to notice words that are repeated. In these two verses, one word appears 4 times. Do you see it?
… your wealth … your product … your barns … your vats
God wants us to take this personally! Think back to your grammar class. This is a second person plural possessive pronoun. Who should give? You – all of you! – give your wealth!
When you take it personally, God sends a blessing to you.
Blessed is he who is generous…
Proverbs 14:21b (ESV)
The word “blessed” can be translated “happy.” Generous people are happy people. And God wants that happiness for you.
Who should give? You… and me!