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Summary: True generosity is seen not in the amount one gives but in the attitude of the giver

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Introduction: Video Clip – It is a wonderful life. Why is it that it takes a crisis to inspire generosity? When our hero, George Bailey is in trouble, the town of Bedford Falls goes out of their way to help him in his time of need.

Meeting needs is not just the stuff of Hollywood, it seems whenever there is a disaster or a dire need; people are more prone to be generous.

Tsunami relief

Hurricane relief

Home destroyed by fire

When disaster strikes generosity pours.

Crisis giving is not the only type of generosity; maybe you read the article this week in Florida Today, about Eugenia Dodson who gave a gift of $35 million to the University of Miami. Eugenia was 100 years of age lived a thrifty life and told no one but her lawyer about her gift, not wanting anyone to make a fuss.

We may marvel at that woman’s gift and think we would do the same if we had those types of resources. Giving is not based on the size of the bank account, but on the heart of the person who gives.

God’s people are called to be generous all of the time regardless of condition or crisis or amount of resources.

Scripture reminds us often times acts of true generosity did not come from the people of great wealth, but from people with great need.

In Mark 12, Jesus is sitting in the temple area watching as people bring their gifts to the treasury. Sizable gifts are being placed in the treasury, by people of means. Suddenly a widow comes before the treasury. She has lost her husband, she really has no means of supporting herself – but she comes to give, clink, clink. Two small coins, verse 42 says they were a fraction of a penny. Put this in context – do you collect pennies? Do you pick up pennies? Here is this woman who approaches the treasury with a gift of less than a penny. Can you imagine what it must have been like for her to stand in line waiting to give her offering? People all around her had bags of money, small bags, large bags – they had bags – and her offering was in her hand.

Verses 43-44 gives us the response of Jesus, Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

The woman’s generosity came not from the amount of money in her purse but the attitude from her heart.

Last week we began a series of messages on stewardship. It is the practice of our church to spend some time each year talking about money as it relates to our spiritual health.

When it comes to talking about money in the church we are a bit apprehensive about the subject, Preaching about money brings out a number of emotions…

Feelings of guilt (I wish I could give more)

Feelings of Anxiety (I brought a friend today, and we are going to talk about money, they will never come back!)

Feelings of inadequacy (We may feel like the widow giving a small portion, what difference does that make?)

My goal in this series of messages is not to focus on the guilt or inadequacy, but to challenge us to look at how money impacts our life and the ministry of our church.

Today I want us to look at the topic of generosity. Webster defines generosity as liberal in giving. The root form of the word is Latin – generous – OPENHANDED

God desires for his people to be openhanded or generous

Scripture calls for us to be generous with our…

Praise and Worship to God

Encouragement of one another

And in our giving to the cause of Christ

And no where is that more evident than in the example of Philippian church. In Philippians 4, Paul commends the people of the Philippian church for their true generosity.

Philippians 4: 14-19, Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

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