Summary: This sermon deals with the principles that should characterize our giving-to the local church and otherwise.
THE WAY TO A HEALTHIER LIFE
Sir Winston Churchill said; “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” This is similar to the teaching of Jesus: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Dr. Karl Menninger, American psychiatrist, said, “Money-giving is a good criterion of a person’s mental health. Generous people are rarely mentally ill people.” A writer in Modern Maturity magazine said; “The world is full of two kinds of people, the givers and the takers. The takers eat well- but the givers sleep well.”
In an effort to form a spiritual bond between the Gentiles and Jews, Paul began to take a collection from the Gentile churches in the areas he had visited on his missionary journeys. Those at Corinth had agreed to participate in this collection, but for some reason they had set aside the collection of this offering. When Paul learned of this, he sent Titus to encourage them to complete this offering. He also sent words of encouragement to them so that hopefully they would complete what they had committed themselves to do. In this passage, Paul gives the Corinthians some reasons why they should complete what they intended to do at an earlier time. These same reasons can still apply today where the subject of giving is concerned.
Money is a subject most pastors do not like to harp on. Members do not normally enjoy it either, but from time to time we need to refresh ourselves concerning what the Bible teaches about our attitude toward money and particularly about our giving to support God’s work through our local church. While this passage is not a doctrinal passage on the subject of giving, principles for giving can be gleaned from it.
I. GIVE LIBERALLY (6)
Paul begins by setting forth the laws of nature for his readers. He tells them that if they sow sparingly they will reap sparingly. On the other hand, if they sow generously, they will also reap generously. If you sow five kernels of corn, the most you will reap will be five stalks and maybe two ears per stalk.
This is not a new idea. It is one that appeals to our common sense. Even if one has never gardened or farmed, they would still understand this idea. The application is that they should give liberally and bountifully to the collection. If they gave sparingly, they should not expect to reap very much.
As children of God, we must realize that our giving, in whatever form it takes, is like sowing. As we give of ourselves to God and to others we are planting seed in the ground. The amount of giving we do, whether it be to God or to others, determines the amount of seed we are placing in the ground. Our giving then is an investment in the truest sense of the word. If we give liberally to God and to others, we can expect liberal and generous results in our life. All of us like to see bountiful results from the things we do, especially if it is an investment. This applies to the area of giving as well. It is very important then that we give bountifully and liberally to God and to others.
When we give in this manner, we lay up treasures in heaven, which is the thing Jesus has commanded us to do. (Matthew 6:20) A child of God should not be able to determine how wealthy they are by measuring their material possessions. Our worth is not measured in dollars but rather by how much we are laying up in heaven by giving to God and others.
Our giving also lays up a harvest for us to reap here on earth. Through this giving spirit, we will establish friendships with many types of people. In turn, we will have the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with these acquaintances.
The lesson from this is that there is a vital connection between our giving and our spiritual welfare. If we do not have a proper spirit of giving then we cannot expect our spiritual welfare to be what God would have it to be. If we do have a proper idea of giving, we will grow in our spiritual health. A proper spirit where giving is concerned will promote spiritual growth.
Several things result from giving liberally. First, the giver is strengthened. As we give out of love to others and God, it strengthens us in our spiritual lives. Second, when we give the recipient is helped. Our giving to them will help to relieve the pain they may be facing. Third, God is glorified. God has given and gives to us each day, and he expects us to be a channel of that giving spirit. The blessings he bestows on us are to flow to others through us. This glorifies God and brings joy to him. Fourth, God will give us more opportunities to help. When we are willing to give God’s blessings on us to others, he will give us even more opportunities to help others.