Summary: Giving God’s way creates joy and peace, not guilt and fear.
THE JOY OF GENEROSITY
(Based on Dr. Kregg Hood’s book: Take God At His Word)
A. I Chronicles 29:12-14 (READ and COMMENT)
Arthur DeMoss, a gifted and godly BUSINESSMAN, built one of the most successful businesses of its kind in America and in the process gained a fortune of an estimated half-billion dollars. You may have seen some commercials on television promoting the PRO-LIFE STANCE and SEXUAL ABSTINENCE funded by the Arthur DeMoss Foundation. A few years ago during an ECONOMIC recession, STOCK in Demoss’ company PLUMMETED. He lost $360 million dollars in only four months, an average of $3 million dollars a day more than anyone had previously LOST in such a short time.
DeMoss was a GENEROUS GIVER to his home congregation and other Christian organizations. One would think that his LOSS would be so DEVASTATING that it would force him to CUT BACK on his Christian GIVING.
Instead, he JOYFULLY INCREASED it. "The Lord GAVE me everything I have," he explained to a friend. "It all belongs to Him, and if He wants to take it away that’s His business. I don’t lose any SLEEP. I still have a wonderful family. I will do anything God wants me to do. If He takes away EVERYTHING He has entrusted to me and calls me to the MISSION FIELD, I’m ready to go. All He needs to do is OPEN the DOOR."
Arthur DeMoss placed his COMPLETE TRUST in God and not in his FORTUNE. God HONORED his FAITH and OBEDIENCE and eventually RESTORED all that he had LOST and much MORE. Arthur passed away some time ago, but his FORTUNE is still being used for the GLORY of God.
This story illustrates once again how important it is for us to realize that ALL that we have comes from God, and our TRUST is to be PLACED in Him and not in what He GIVES US. Arthur DeMoss was a GENEROUS GIVER even during the TOUGH TIMES because he knew where the SOURCE of His WEALTH came from, and he believed that God would take care of Him as long as he remained FAITHFUL in His SERVICE.
B. Those who find JOY in their GIVING understand this PRINCIPLE very well.
During World War II this slogan was often heard: "Give until it hurts." And people did!
Some have taken this same SLOGAN and applied it to Christian GIVING. I’ve heard preachers say, "If you haven’t GIVEN UNTIL IT HURTS, then you haven’t GIVEN nearly enough." Yet, this principle of "Giving until it hurts," goes against what Scripture says about our ATTITUDE in giving.
1. The Bible says that we are to "GIVE UNTIL IT FEELS GOOD."
a. Acts 20:35- "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
b. II Corinthians 9:7- ". . . God loves a cheerful giver."
c. II Corinthians 8:1-4 (READ and COMMENT) (Does that sound like it was HURTFUL for them give as they did?)
2. It DELIGHTS God to GIVE to His children, and we should be DELIGHTED to SHARE what He has GIVEN to us.
I. GIVING CREATES A SENSE OF PEACE AND GRATIFICATION
A. I think that’s what Jesus meant when He said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
1. There is something about GIVING GENEROUSLY to the church or GIVING to people in need that makes you feel good.
A Boston FLORIST named Henry Penn once told how two boys and a girl came into his shop one day and explained: "We"re the committee, and we’d like to buy some pretty YELLOW flowers, sir. So, you have any yellow flowers? He’d like them better if they were YELLOW. He had a yellow sweater."
"Are they for someone"s FUNERAL?" asked Penn. The children nodded and fought back the tears. "She"s his sister," explained one of the boys. "He was a good kid. A TRUCK yesterday . . . we were playing in the street . . . we saw it happen." Then the other boy added, ¡§Us kids took up a COLLECTION. We got 18 cents. Would ROSES cost a lot, mister? Yellow ROSES?"
Touched by their tragic story, Penn replied, "You know what? I have some nice YELLOW ROSES here that I am selling for 18 cents a DOZEN just this morning."
One of the children reached into his pocket and pulled out 18 cents, gave it to the FLORIST, and walked out with a beautiful bouquet of YELLOW ROSES. Henry Penn said, "I felt UPLIFTED for days. I had been given the INEXPRESSIBLE privilege of SHARING."
2. Many people live FRUSTRATED lives because they do not know the JOY of SHARING.
SHARING does not DIMINISH--it is an OPENING through which we RECEIVE. GIVING makes it POSSIBLE for God to GIVE to us--the more we GIVE, the greater the BLESSING.