Clenched Fist; Open Hand
Reading: 2 Cor 9:6-15
Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
I. The trouble with Holding on
A. We’re controlled by the Fear of loss
1. We sow sparingly because we’re afraid.
a. We are afraid that we’ll end up needy.
2. This fear can control us
a. Until we are incapable of giving.
b. We are afraid of our emptiness.
3. We fail to see the poverty of our lives.
a. We have things, but no joy.
b. We have money but no life.
c. We have gained our own little worlds, but we have lost our soul.
B. We’re unable to Pick Up something new
1. Our hands too full!
a. Our finger muscles atrophy, closed around our little things, so we become less and less able to grasp big things.
2. We don’t believe “Give, and it will be given you.” as much as “A bird in the hand. . .”
a. We don’t have much, but it’s something
3. We are obsessed with accumulating.
a. One day in Texas: “How much I have!”
C. We’re closed to the Joy of giving
1. Those who clutch their things like toddlers, are closed to one of life’s greatest joys.
a. Our tightfistedness robs our joy.
2. “Sow generously to reap generously”
a. Because giving is it’s own reward.
b. It is a joy to really and truly help people
c. To give so God’s kingdom moves ahead
3. Some accuse the Church of preaching a self-serving message in giving.
a. This makes preaching on giving tough!
b. But, if I didn’t, you would be the losers!
II. God’s Challenge to give
A. God’s challenge is not based on Need
1. Paul doesn’t talk about need until v.12!
a. He doesn’t show us barefoot children!
b. Nothing wrong with helping the needy!
2. He doesn’t say help or the church will fold!
a. He isn’t waving a budget or a message of practical responsibility.
b. Though there’s nothing wrong with budgets or taking up responsibility.
3. No guilt-induced or obligatory giving!
2Cor.9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
a. Don’t give to relieve guilt!
b. It never works anyway!
B. God offers us an opportunity to Share
1. Share the blessings we get with others!
a. Lit: Sow to bless or bcas we’re blessed
b. What God gives to us we hold in trust.
c. We may enjoy his gifts, but we may also share them with others!
2. God blesses others through us! Cool!
a. Sometimes we have the joy of being used by God to bless someone!
3. Not so much a challenge as an invitation!
a. What if you could make a contribution that would have eternal impact?!
C. Giving is an expression of Love
1. Giving gifts is one of the oldest an most universal expressions of love.
a. We give gifts to those we love.
b. Not just bc of need, bc of love!
2. When we see a brother or sister in need, our love creates a desire to help.
a. “How can you see a brother in need and not help, if God’s love is in you?”
3. “Sow generously to reap generously” also means that giving grows love.
a. Our love for others and theirs for us.
b. Both the love we give and the love we receive are two of life’s greatest gifts.
III. God’s Promise to provide
A. “. . . Will also reap generously!”
1. There’s more reward than the joy of giving!
a. If we sow blessing, we’ll reap blessing
b. In sowing to bless others we’re blessed!
2. “He who supplies seed to the sower” (v.6!)
a. He will increase your store for sowing
b. He’ll increase the productivity of your righteousness
B. “Test me in this. . .” (Malachi 3:10)
Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (Mal 3:10)
C. There is Blessing in giving
1. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
a. National pastors robbed of giving by missionaries who just did it all.
2. Giving is a part of our spiritual life just like everything else.
a. Healthy giving, like prayer and Bible reading builds our relationship with God.
3. Open your hands and God will bless!
The Bottom Line:
|Open your Hearts and your Hands to give generously and Joyfully.|