Summary: Giving is not the question for the Christian. It is a rule by which we live.
INTRO.- ILL.- The American industrialist, Henry Ford, was once asked to donate money for the construction of a new medical facility. The billionaire pledged to donate $5,000. The next day in the newspaper, the headline read, "Henry Ford contributes $50,000 to the local hospital."
The irate Ford was on the phone immediately to complain to the fund-raiser that he had been misunderstood. The fund-raiser replied that they would print a retraction in the paper the following day to read, "Henry Ford reduces his donation by $45,000." Realizing the poor publicity that would result, the industrialist agreed to the $50,000 contribution in return for the following: That above the entrance to the hospital was to be carved the biblical inscription: "I came among you and you took me in."
Sometimes in life we feel like we’ve been taken in or we’ve been took! Ever make a bad purchase? Ever buy a lemon? Ever give to a cause that you knew was going nowhere? Ever give to a person whom you knew would blow it?
To give or not to give? That is the question. No, that is not the question. That may be the question for many people in our world, but it should not be for the Christian. Giving should be a natural part of our lives. We should want to give because of God’s example of giving to us.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave…”
God has given everything for our enjoyment in this life and He has given us what it takes to make it to eternity. The greatest of all gifts is the sacrifice of His son Jesus on the cross. Giving doesn’t get any better than that.
No matter how much we give back to God through the church or missions or by any others means, we will never outdistance His giving. But this doesn’t mean that we should stop giving or cut back in our giving.
ILL.- Preacher W.A. Criswell told of an ambitious young man who told his pastor he’d promised God a tithe of his income. They prayed for God to bless his career. At that time he was making $40.00 per week and tithing $4.00. In a few years his income increased and he was tithing $500.00 per week.
He called on the pastor to see if he could be released from his tithing promise, it was too costly now. The pastor replied, "I don’t see how you can be released from your promise, but we can ask God to reduce your income to $40.00 a week, then you’d have no problem tithing $4.00."
That doesn’t figure, does it? You would think that as a person is blessed by God financially they would want to give even more back to God. This story just reminds us of how self-centered we really are.
ILL.- Ever heard of Jon M. Huntsman? He is a billionaire who gave $100 million dollars to help find a cure for cancer. Huntsman has gone through two bouts of cancer himself. He had prostate cancer in 1992 and then cancer of the mouth in 1993.
It’s said that Huntsman could be a poster boy for old-fashioned values. He grew up in what he describes as a “humble and modest” home in Blackfoot, Idaho, the second of three sons of a schoolteacher and his wife.
HOW DID HE MAKE HIS BILLION DOLLARS? One thing was the “Big Mac” plastic burger box for McDonald’s. I think prior to that it was the egg carton and then came plastic bowls and plates for hospital use. His companies are in 23 different countries. Huntsman said, “I never dreamed that I would be in this position financially someday, nor did our family ever expect it, nor do I think, frankly, that we deserve it.”
“But it’s unfolded in such an incredible way, I feel maybe the good Lord intended me to utilize it for the betterment of human-kind. There’s no better explanation for someone to have picked potatoes as a kid and suddenly have a $4 to $5 billion dollar company in one lifetime.”
Huntsman has done a good thing. His giving has apparently been motivated by a gracious God. And so must our giving be.
It’s been said that when we give we are most like God. This may very well be. Giving is one of the hardest things for most people to do, because we are taking away from ourselves. And self is very strong in all of us. SELF OFTEN DOMINATES AND CONTROLS.
So when it comes to giving in any form, let’s think in terms of becoming more like God and Christ who have given their all for us and to us.
Now for some more motivation. Does it do any good to give to others or for the cause of Christ?