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Summary: Third in a series on the Wisdom found in Proverbs. The idea for this Series came from "Everyday Light" a daily devotional by Selwyn Hughes. Pillar #3 - Generosity.

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26, October 2003

Dakota Community Church

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Week Three: Generosity

Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.

2 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table.

3 She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city.

4 "Let all who are simple come in here!" she says to those who lack judgment.

5 "Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed.

6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.

- We are not told what the seven pillars are.

- I believe they are themes of truth that will lead to life.

The third “pillar” upon which I believe wisdom is built is Generosity.

I don’t know if you have realized it or not but in each of these pillars of wisdom, a strong argument can be made against doing it God’s way.

- Trusting opens us to hurt and disappointment.

- Integrity costs us immediate gratification almost every time.

- Generosity just looks foolish in a society that judges success by the number of toys you accumulate.

1. A generous hand requires a generous heart.

Proverbs 23: 6-8

6 Do not eat the food of a stingy man, do not crave his delicacies;

7 for he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost. "Eat and drink," he says to you, but his heart is not with you.

8 You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.

- We are the children of a generous God.

- Think about creation and all it’s beauty even in this fallen state.

- Think about the depths He went to in order to redeem us.

- Think about His covenant and promises and offer of fellowship.

Created in His image we are designed for hilarious generosity!

Questions:

Do you have a generous heart?

Do you rejoice to give?

Do you give legalistically?

Do you give grudgingly?

Proverbs 30: 15

15 "The leech has two daughters. ’Give! Give!’ they cry.

Have you stopped giving?

Are you a stingy man?

Proverbs 3: 27-28

27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.

28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow"- when you now have it with you.

If I recognize that I do not have a generous heart, how can I change?

- If you are not acting generously, begin.

- If you are outwardly generous but inwardly stingy, continue plus:

- Draw closer to the giver of every good gift. He alone changes hearts.

- Remind yourself regularly that everything you have is Gods and only what you give away will have eternal significance.

The story is told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for alms from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler, no right even to lift a solicitous hand. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. A courtier was astonished at his generosity and commented, "Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need. Why give him gold?" Alexander responded in royal fashion, "Cooper coins would suit the beggar’s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving."

Why bother?

2. Blessing is a by-product of generosity.

Proverbs 11: 24-26

24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

26 People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Generosity creates a vacuum into which God flows, enabling us to go on giving again and again.

There were once two young men working their way through Leland Stanford University. Their funds got desperately low, and the idea came to one of them to engage Paderewski for a piano recital and devote the profits to their board and tuition. The great pianist’s manager asked for a guarantee of two thousand dollars. The students, undaunted, proceeded to stage the concert. They worked hard, only to find that the concert had raised only sixteen hundred dollars. After the concert, the students sought the great artist and told him of their efforts and results. They gave him the entire sixteen hundred dollars, and accompanied it with a promissory note for four hundred dollars, explaining that they would earn the amount at the earliest possible moment and send the money to him. "No," replied Paderewski, "that won’t do." Then tearing the note to shreds, he returned the money and said to them: "Now, take out of this sixteen hundred dollars all of your expenses, and keep for each of you 10 percent of the balance for your work, and let me have the rest." The years rolled by--years of fortune and destiny. Paderewski had become premier of Poland. The devastating war came, and Paderewski was striving with might and main to feed the starving thousands of his beloved Poland. There was only one man in the world that could help Paderewski and his people. Thousands of tons of food began to come into Poland for distribution by the Polish premier.

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