Summary: Part 2 of 3: Eight results of sacrificial and generous giving.
The Fruit of Your Giving
Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church
January 15, 2006
Have you ever wondered how much of your finances you ought to give to God? A man once asked his pastor how much he should be giving to the Lord. The wise pastor replied, “How much do you want to receive from the Lord?” I believe there is much we can learn from that. The conscientious child of God will spend much time considering his giving to the Lord through the years, but perhaps a better question for us to ask ourselves today is “What do we want in return from the Lord?”
It is not a health, wealth and prosperity gospel that I preach, but a simple truth of Scripture. Paul will say in our text today that the man who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, but the man who gives liberally will be blessed liberally. Let me state emphatically that we do not give to get. We give because it is an expression of trust and worship; it just so happens that when we are faithful to give from hearts of love and trust that God blesses in great measure.
Last week I challenged you to give yourselves to the Lord. Remember that God is more interested in having you and your heart than your wallet. But I also said that whether or not He has your wallet is a reflection of whether He has your heart. If we are stingy in our giving in relation to our ability to give, it is an indication that we have been stingy in giving our lives to God. The man who gives much in relation to his ability to give is a man who has given himself wholly to God.
Now, having said all that, I realize that the bottom line for many people is still “What’s in it for me?” It is natural for us to ask questions. “Why should I give liberally to God?” “What will happen if I increase my giving?” “Will my family suffer if we give like you are telling us to give?” In response to these questions I want to make two comments. First, I understand that it is natural for us to ask these and other questions. But I submit to you that that’s precisely what gets us into the most trouble with God. We cannot pattern our lives after what comes naturally to us. The natural man doesn’t care for the things of God. The natural man questions and doubts and given the opportunity will convince you to do nothing and trust little. On the other hand God is working to create in your life a longing for that which is spiritual. He wants to lead you to the place where you are Spirit-led; not carnally led.
Secondly, while all of that is true, I will not dismiss our desire to know what’s in it for us, so I want to attempt to answer that question by giving you eight results of your giving. What is in it for you? What’s in it for me? What’s in giving for our church? I believe that from 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 we can find eight results of giving sacrificially to God.
I Will Experience Abundance of Joy & Freedom
Last week we read chapter 8:2 which says,
“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”
We won’t spend much time here since I already preached this last week. But I think it’s worth repeating that when we are giving to God the way His Spirit is leading us to give we are going to experience an abundance of joy and we’ll experience the liberating effects of that giving. Do you know why giving what the Spirit says to give brings you joy? Because joy is not really a fruit of giving – it is a fruit of the Spirit. When we are walking in the Spirit; when we are doing what He says; yielding our lives to Him, then the natural result of that will be joy: a great abundance of joy.
What about freedom? Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24.
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (money).”
Who will be your master? When you cling to one you let go of, are set free from, the other. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth is Jesus Christ. You cling to Him and make Him your Master and the grip your money has on you will cease to be.