Summary: A series of messages about the characteristics of a church God would bless.
“The church that God uses…loves to give”
I fail or succeed in my stewardship of life in proportion to how convinced I am that my life belongs to God.
-Ever wish you were more concerned about the things of God? Put your money there– the interest will naturally follow.
-M. P. Horban
***Ask almost any pastor what they DON’T want to preach about and MONEY is at the top of their list. We are concerned about giving people (visitors especially) the impression that the church exists to “get people’s money”.
***And let’s be honest...a LOT of the failures and excesses that the world has seen in the church has had to do with MONEY and GREED...churches building elaborate, multi-million dollar facilities when our brothers and sisters in Christ in many parts of the world live in cardboard and tin “shacks” and don’t have enough food or medicine to be healthy.
No wonder they are skeptical...BUT does that make what GOD says about giving to His church and to US as Christians “null and void”??? Of course not!
Getting a handle on GIVING and learning to be GOOD STEWARDS of all our resources (our TIME, our TALENTS and our TREASURES) is a HUGE part of what spiritual maturity for the Christian is all about.
Having wrong attitudes about money is MESSING UP our life-priorities.
Having wrong attitudes about money is RUINING our marriages.
Having wrong attitudes about money is making our CHILDREN greedy and materialistic.
Having wrong attitudes about money is hindering the FULFILLMENT of the church’s mission.
Having wrong attitudes about money is robbing us of one of the great JOYS of our Christian life.
(Did you notice I said “JOYS”?? I really mean that! You will know that you have the stewardship of your finances figured out when giving is a joyful experience...and you don’t give because…
-Or you’re AFRAID of what someone would think of you if you didn’t
-Or because you want to look GOOD in someone’s eyes
-Or because giving gives you some “control” in the church
BUT YOU GIVE BECAUSE IT IS LIBERATING and FAITH-BUILDING and FUN (I’m not kidding!)
Go to the Text...2 Corinthians 8
Paul has been telling the churches that he wants to take an offering for the poor and needy to the church in Jerusalem. The churches in Galatia want to participate and it seems that the church in Corinth also promised to participate in this offering. Their response must have been enthusiastic and their promised offering a blessing because Paul went and used the promise of the Corinth church to encourage the churches in Macedonia.
But now in 2 Corinthians 8...the Macedonian church has given their gift, and the church in Corinth has not fulfilled its “Faith Promise”…
1.) God doesn’t NEED your money, He wants your LIFE. (v. 1-5)
God isn’t “broke”. He isn’t poor. And He isn’t playing games with you...seeing if you will “give enough” to prove your spiritual sincerity.
WE NEED A REALITY CHECK...because we KNOW that the good, proper, evangelical thing to say is “every good thing in my life is a GIFT from God” and it’s really HIS, not MINE...but we won’t ADMIT to each other how hard it is to really LIVE that way. It takes COPIUS amounts of GRACE to live this out...the Macedonian believers HAD THIS GRACE…
The example of the believers in Macedonia begins with their receiving GOD’S GRACE: (verse 1: “...we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.”) 2 specific evidences of God’s grace are given...
-The grace of JOY in the face of trials.
-The grace of GENEROSITY in the face of poverty.
(v. 2-4 “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.”
In his commentary on 2 Corinthians, Philip Hughes wrote about this so well, so I share his thoughts (paraphrasing slightly): The example of the Macedonians is a practical proof that true generosity is not the exclusive territory of those who enjoy financial prosperity. The most genuine generosity is often displayed by those who have the least to give. Christian giving is not measured in terms of QUANTITY but SACRIFICE. It was in that way that Jesus could say that the widow who threw her two copper coins into the temple treasury gave more than all the others. In the case of the Macedonian Christians, they trials and poverty had uncovered and refined the precious metal of joy and generosity.