Summary: We learned in school that when you give things away, you end up with less. But that's not how it works with God.
Somewhere around the third or fourth grade, you and I learned to do math word problems. And they would say things like, "If you had $1,000 and you gave away $100, how much would you have left?" And we all learned $900.
In other words, we started with $1,000. After giving away $100, we only have $900. Where I come from, $900 is less than $1,000. Are you with me so far?
The problem with that is, although it's mathematically true, when you deal with the subject of generosity and giving, it sets up a mythology in your head, and you make one of the biggest mistakes with money you can ever make.
Because you fall prey to the idea-and I did it too, because I'm a math nerd-that when I give money away, I end up with less. Because that's what we were all taught. And, again, it's mathematically true in that particular moment. It's not true over the scope of your life. And it's not true for those of us who walk with Jesus and love Him.
It's not true because giving is the lifeblood of the believer. Generosity is necessary for the lifeblood of the believer, for our hearts to beat, and it changes our lives. It transforms us. The misunderstanding is that by giving, I end up with less.
But the net result is that by giving, I end up with more. No, it's not necessary. Yes, it's more joy. Yes, it's more blessings. Yes. But most of the time-and I'll walk you through this-not in some mystical prosperity kind of way, but most of the time you do end up with more money. And here's how that works. Let me help you with that. I'm gonna walk you through a bunch of this because it's very, very practical.
Hold Money With an Open Hand
The clenched fist is the international sign of anger. You can travel the world, and anywhere in the world you clench your fist, they get it. I'm from the redneck end of Tennessee. You clench your fist, you better swing it.
Anywhere in the world we get an open hand, we know what that means. Even a dog understands this. It's an indication of our spirit. Closed . . . open.
Closed: The money won't get away, but no more can get in. Open: Some of it might leave, but more can come in. Simple concept, but it's an indication of our spirit, and it affects the mathematics, says the math nerd. It affects the mathematics.
I need a little bit of help this morning. Let me scarf up a couple of guys because I've got to have some bodies up here to help me. I promise I'm not gonna make fun of you or do anything mean to you or anything, but would you help me, sir? And, sir, would you help me? Thanks. Y'all come up here with me right quick. Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry.
Okay, so, I want to set this up for a minute. I didn't grow up in church. I didn't know anything about the Bible, and so it took me a little while to get this stuff down.
What's your name, sir? Dustin, good to meet you. What's your name, sir? Ron, good to meet you, sir. Thank you. Ron is gonna represent you and I, okay? You and I work really hard, and we save up $1,000. Do you know how hard it is to get $1,000 in today's current tax code? Take-home pay, right? And we fed the kids and we still got $1,000. Is that hard?