Summary: Spiritual Gifts Series - 11 of 13.
THE GIFT OF GIVING
INTRO: An elderly man won a ten million-dollar sweepstakes. While his family was happy, they worried about just how to tell the man of his good fortune, for he had a chronic heart condition. Finally it was decided that the man’s pastor should break the good news. Surely he could handle this explosive issue.
So the pastor was called to the home. He sat down with his elderly member and small-talked for a while. Finally he said, “Fred, what would you do if you had ten million dollars?” Old Fred thought for a moment and then replied, “Well, Preacher, I guess I’d give half of it to the church.” And with that, the preacher fell over dead with a heart attack!
The average charitable giving in the United States is 1.7 percent of adjusted gross income. The average among Christians is 2.5 percent. Believe it or not, there are some people who get excited about giving. Many people have the gift of giving.
I. A GOOD DEFINITION.
Two word studies are important for this gift. The word (μεταδιδος) which is translated “gives” literally means: “to give a share” or to “impart. “ Our English word SHARE probably comes closest to what the Greek word meant. Basically, this gift means that you will share what God has given to you.
The other important Greek word (ὰπλὀτηι) that is translated “simplicity” expresses the attitude which surrounds this sharing. It means: “to share with simplicity, without pretense, or without show.” Putting these words together, we discover that this gift is the ability to share what we have with others freely without fanfare or attention.
ILLUS: If every church member in the United States were to suddenly lose his/her job and went on welfare, and yet were willing to tithe from the minimal amount received from public assistance, Giving in the Nation’s Churches Would Immediately Increase over 30%! Love of the right use of money is the root of all good.
II. A GOOD EXAMPLE.
Jesus is the perfect example of one who gave Himself and whatever He had without thought of popularity or return. Perhaps His greatest giving is seen in His death.
ILLUS: Acts 1-3 shows us a picture of a church where people gave generously. They felt that everyone should have a share in God’s blessings. In our own church there are actually people who give the tithe, beyond the tithe, special gifts, etc. In some churches there are people who give their estate to the church, trust funds, even put the church in their wills, or make the church the beneficiary of their insurance policy.
III. GOOD USE OF THE GIFT.
What are the marks of a person with this gift? They often feel that God has blessed them with more than they need. They do not need publicity when they give. They do it quietly and with no strings attached.
ILLUS: Church member in Ponder who gave $10,000 to the church to buy a church van. One deacon said he could not designate his gift. The giver wanted his gift back then.
Because they are close to Jesus, they have started developing tendencies to share. They are deeply conscious of the grace of God and are overwhelmed by the cross. They have a burning desire to share the love of God. They have found out that the more they give to God, the more He trusts them!
You don’t have to be rich to have this gift. As a matter of fact, the greatest example of giving that Jesus ever saw was by a widow with two pennies.
ILLUS: I have never known a generous person to complain about how much money it takes to run a church. Poor givers gripe about how much it takes; generous givers express concern that they don’t do more.
I have never known a family who tithed for any length of time who quit. I have never known a generous family that was not generally happy. I have never known a stingy, miserly family that was not generally unhappy about many things.
I have never known a person who was critical of most things, mad about many things, who was generous. I have come to believe that most people who feel we talk too much about money, never really want to talk about money at all.
I have come to believe that there is a direct connection that exists between a person’s faith and a person’s generosity. Those who give generously tend to become more faithful. (copied)
CONC: There are 3 kinds of givers — the flint, the sponge and the honeycomb. To get anything out of a flint you must hammer it. And then you get only chips and sparks. To get water out of a sponge you must squeeze it, and the more you use pressure, the more you will get. But the honeycomb just overflows with its own sweetness. Which kind of giver are you?