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Summary: Stewardship/Giving message

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THE OPPORTUNITY YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS

THE CIRCUMTANCES OF GIVING

2 Cor. 8:1-9 - Nov. 2, 1997 - Sunday AM

INTR: This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Dilliard’s is consolidating all of it’s 1997

fall clothing under one roof at their Eastlake Mall discount center. All merchandise 66% off or

more. . . . Sound Advice is having their annual scratch and dent sale. VCR’s for under $70.

Camcorders for under $200. . . . I saw an opportunity the paper warned me not to miss last week.

A local car dealer was selling used cars. Trade-ins beginning at $5.00.

TRNS: Most opportunities which we are told we don’t want to miss involve money. 99% of them

involve opportunities for us to make money for little or no work or opportunities to save

incredible amounts of money on purchases. Well today I want to share with you about an

opportunity that you don’t want to miss. And it involves money.

READ: 2 Cor.8:1-9

BKGR: In this letter to the people of the church at Corinth, Paul encourages them to finish a task

they had formally begun. The church at Corinth had previously indicated they would send money

to help the church at Jerusalem which was very poor by now. But the money had not been

forthcoming. So Paul writes to remind them of their obligation. He does so by using the

Macedonian churches as an example.

The area referred to as Macedonia included Phillipi, Thessalonica, and Berea. In chapter 8, Paul

begins by referring to the “grace” God has given to the Macedonian churches. The grace he refers

to is a clear reference to the opportunity to give of their money to a cause important to God. And

Paul says . . .

1. THEY GAVE JOYOUSLY.

a. They had “overflowing joy” at the opportunity to give.

b. And the great joy was not a function of the abundance they had to give.

i. Their’s was severe trial and extreme poverty.

ii. We are not sure what the severe trial was. It may have been a religious or

political persecution that resulted in an inability to find work which led to

the extreme poverty. Or the severe trial may have been the extreme poverty

which was a result of poor economic circumstances.

c. Even so they gave joyously, grateful for the opportunity to give.

ILST: Several years ago Ted Turner gave a multi-million dollar donation to the UN. When I read

about Ted Turner’s gift to the UN, the articles I read pictured him as absolutely giddy over the

gift he had given. Turner’s gift did not press him like that of the Macedonians. Never the less,

Turner believes in the UN. He believes we live in a world economy and he supports the idea of a

global village. He believes the only vehicle to accomplish the goals of establishing that one world

approach geo-politically is the UN. And so he gives joyously to what he believes in.

APLC: God has given you the opportunity to give to a cause greater than any other on the face of

the earth. When you give to God and his work you give to a cause whose work will last forever.

If you were ever going to give money away joyously I would think it would be to the church.

When was the last time you gave money away joyously?

Paul says the Macedonians gave joyously and . . .

2. THEY GAVE GENEROUSLY.

a. “Rich generosity.” “They gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their

ability.”

b. The implication here is that these were poor people who gave what they could and

then gave some more.

ILST: You know who the most generous giver is America are.? In the May 1997 Christianity

Today there was an article which said research indicates that the weakest givers are those with

incomes between $40,000 and $100,000 per year. The two groups which give the highest

percentages of income were those who make more than $100,000 and those who make less than

$20,000 and while those who make more generally give more, they do so as a decreasing

percentage of their income. The most generous people are those who make the least. Kind of

reminds you of the story of the widow who gave her last two coins doesn’t it?

APLC: You would think people given the opportunity to give to the most important cause on the

face of the earth would give generously. Ted Turner also gave 75 million to educational causes in

1994. Theodore Johnson, a man not nearly as rich as Turner gave 36 million to educational causes

in 1991. And then there was Ralph Beeson who gave 80 million to educational causes including

Samford University and Beeson divinity school in 1990, but he was dead when he gave that. But

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