Summary: Three principles that we discover about generosity in Paul's letter to the Corinthians
This is our last week of money month and for the past four weeks we have been parked in the generosity spot. Each year we take the month of April to explore the theology of money, giving and generosity. Not only within the church but in our lives in general. This idea is that if we have a particular time to address these concepts they won’t get missed and they won’t come across scolding or begging as so often happens when money is addressed in church during crisis times.
And while some folks feel that the topic of money should be avoided in church the bible doesn’t shy away from the topic and neither did Jesus. As a matter of fact Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
And while most of us know the words we often get them mixed up and quote it as where your heart is there your treasure will be. But Jesus knew how people function and while our money will often follow our hearts, you only need to look at where a person is investing today to know where there priorities are today.
And there are reasons why money needs to be addressed at the local level. We don’t like to admit it but the church needs the giving of someone to exist. Some churches exist because of denominational subsidies, but somebody somewhere is giving so that can happen. Other churches depend on their endowment funds, but that means that someone gave in the past so they could exist today. And while Cornerstone was dependent on outside giving early in our life as a church today we exist because of the generosity of people who make Cornerstone their church home. There is no outside source of income for Cornerstone, no magic pot that we can dip into. The practical side is that in order for Cornerstone to exist there are bills that need to be paid. Mortgage payments, utilities, salaries etc. And as the church changes those change and often expand. So while we were meeting in the Lion’s Den in Bedford we didn’t have to pay a mortgage but many of you wouldn’t have been reached from that venue. And while Denn was the only pastor on staff the salary line in the budget was less, but pastoring a church of 50 and pastoring a church of 300 requires more time and effort than one person can provide. This is the last Sunday in April which means that today we will end with an opportunity for each person who makes Cornerstone their church home the opportunity to fill in the estimate of giving card at the end of the service and we use those figures to go ahead with our budget for the new church year. In a very real way each person who responds, or doesn’t respond is telling us what type of church they want Cornerstone to be.
But it’s not just about the practical side, it is about the discipleship side as well. Throughout the bible money is used as a spiritual barometer, because ultimately it says something about our relationship with God because it pulls back the curtains to reveal what it is that is the most important thing in our lives.
And in that case giving isn’t about the church’s need to receive as much as it is about the believer’s need to give, because our treatment of money is often a reflection of the importance we place on our relationship with God. What sacrifices are made to support his work? And what in life do we value higher than Him? And maybe you don’t think that’s a fair question but each of us will spend what we have somewhere.
And here is the truth of the matter, told by the master of the truth himself, Luke 16:13 Jesus said “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Last week we looked very briefly at portion of the scripture that was read for us this morning 2 Corinthians 9:10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
We just kind of mentioned it as a part of my last point and I mentioned at the time that we would be coming back this week to unpack that chapter. And here we are.
On Easter Sunday I spoke about the generosity of Easter and we looked at what God gave and what we received as a result of the resurrection. The next Sunday was our 20th Anniversary and I spoke about the birth of a Generous Church, how Cornerstone was birthed out of the Generosity of others, our district, our denomination, local churches and individuals who believed in our vision. It was in that message that we first visited the generosity of the Corinthian Church and how they set an example for the church in Macedonia. And I spoke about your generosity that has allowed CWC to exist and reach people and impact lives not only in our community but around the world.