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Be Generous

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Introduction

Two valleys in California run through a National Park

One city decided to appropriate one river exclusively for themselves and their water supply. To do so they build a large dam at the western point of the river. The river flooded its banks, flooded the valley, and because of the mountain range holding the river it turned into a vast reservoir.
To it’s detriment the city built reservoir destroyed the habitat and ecosystem as well as functionally burying one of the most beautiful valleys in our country.
The other river runs through about 15 miles to the south without impediment. Millions visit it each year and it is one of the greatest treasures in our country. It’s there for the benefit of all.
Which is better?
The river and the reservoir demonstrate two mindsets to our resources.
If we would say our core value is “Be Generous” which river do you think reflects a generous heart?
Core Series - identity/family, rhythm/work hard, attitude/live to serve, impulse/radical compassion, legacy/multiply leaders, resources/be generous,

Big Idea: Godly generosity is a river not a reservoir

Transition Statement: Four lies that will create a reservoir instead of river of generosity

I want it (vv. 13-15) ---- God made me for something greater

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Jesus is teaching - a crowd of many thousand (v. 1) have appeared - in the midst of that a man in the crowd interrupts and asks Jesus to act as a judge.
His request is that Jesus would settle the dispute and rule in his favor.
You can hear it in his heart - “I WANT MY SHARE!”
Jesus rebukes the man and fails to make a verdict and instead teaches
v. 15 - beware against covetousness - the desire for having and getting
Life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.
The one with the most toys at the end of the day doesn’t win!
How often do our hearts want more and more and more - we’re never satisfied
If we look at our resources and begin to say about things out in the world “I want it!” we are in danger of building a dam that turns a river of generosity into a reservoir of selfishness.
Illustration:
I want… my neighbors car - Ford GT
Application:
Remedy is seeing that God has made me for something greater than accumulation of stuff!
He has made me for himself! He has made me to enjoy Him forever.
If you’re living a life of accumulation you are aiming at being a hoarder
When your life is lived in the pursuit of more things God is crowded out. You become very little in your pursuit of much.
Yet when you live in the pursuit of the great things - namely God - your little becomes much.
Luke: An Introduction and Commentary 9. The Rich Fool (12:13–21)

He came to bring people to God, not to bring property to people. In this situation he was concerned with the attitudes of those involved, not with who got what.

I earned it (vv. 16-17) ---- God is my provider

16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’

Second lie that turns rivers into reservoirs is “I earned it”
Jesus turns to tell a parable to help them get to the heart of the matter.
It involves a rich man - note that - he’s already rich
Jesus says that the land produced plentifully
He planted —> he cultivated —> but the growth and provision??
From God! - all he has is from God!
v. 17 - I’ve made a ton - what shall I do with it?!
Problem is not with the abundance - it’s with the direction of his abundance.
Key word is “store”
Note self-focus “what shall I do, I have nowhere to store MY crops”
Entitlement mentality - this is all mine and I can use it for myself and myself alone.
The Gospel of Luke 5.4.2. Faithfulness Concerning Possessions (12:13-34)

Given the subsistence economy of the peasant population surrounding him, this need for increased personal storage space not directly related to his agricultural activity must have seemed odd in the extreme, if not utterly monstrous.

Apply:
Remedy for this is knowing that God is my Provider. Everything I have comes from him.
The only thing we’ve earned is death and Hell.
God in his grace has given us all things - you may have worked and recieved it, but ultimately it’s from God.
The more I see God as my provider the more I can be freed to live as a river of blessing to others instead of a reservoir of selfishness.

I might need it (vv. 18-19) ---- God has provided for a reason

18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’

Third lie is that “I might need it.” The more I stockpile the higher the water rises into a reservoir.
The man has so much - so he decides to go into storage instead of stewardship
Tear down, build larger, store all
Lie of security - I have ample goods - relax, eat, drink, be merry!
What if a rainy day comes??? I don’t want to be needy. I don’t want to be without.
The man changed the local economy - he would drive up prices because he had the largest market share. He would make others dependent upon him. In Jesus’ culture this kind of thinking and business was socially monstrous.
Instead of embracing stewardship, he embraces storage.
Application:
The remedy here is God has provided for a reason. Why do you have what you have?
You earned it? You made it? You did it?
You are sovereign over your stuff?
Or did God give you for a greater reason - namely himself!
We are stewards - not ones who store
Our security is in God who said (Luke 12:22-30)

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Why has God provided you with a good tax return?
What purpose does God have for that bonus?
Carefully consider - am I being a reservoir or living as a river

I treasure it (vv. 20-21) ---- God is my treasure

20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

The fourth lie is that our hearts tell is the lie of Golum - It’s my precious, I treasure it.
The man in building security for himself has failed to realize his need for security in God!
This money cannot buy.
So on the very night he planned a massive storage project to prolong his life and comfort is the very night he dies - and he is a fool.
He has not acted with wisdom - all he has is lost.
All he has prepared - whose will they be?
He reservoired his life for himself - he was not rich toward God.
How would you know if this you?
Your nightmare would be to lose it
Your constantly thinking over how to protect, gain, or improve having more
You get defensive when it is threatened.
Application
The remedy is that God is your treasure
How is one rich toward God? God is your treasure!!
Your need is met in Christ - your life is Christ
Your faith is in Christ - your hope in Christ
You can lose everything - as long as you have Christ you have everything!

Conclusion

Like the two rivers there were two lives
Both were abundant and full lives
Yet one lived to store up for himself
The other lived to give and supply for others
The one who kept for himself died with nothing - and was empty
The one who lived generous died with nothing too - because he gave everything and was a blessing to the nations.
The first life is ours - we all live that way - we have tried to make our cisterns, reservoirs for ourselves - they are broken and nothing.

13  for my people have committed two evils:

they have forsaken me,

the fountain of living waters,

and hewed out cisterns for themselves,

broken cisterns that can hold no water.

The second life is Jesus’ - he is the river of blessing and life - the fountain of living water!
Jesus died as the generous one, giving all he had so that we might be rescued from our empty reservoirs and receive life and blessing.
The Lord’s Supper points us to his death to remind us and help us embrace again by faith Jesus!
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