Giving My Resources
I’m going to take a moment and review some of the Believe statements that we’ve covered.
× We believe the Church is God’s primary way to accomplish his purposes on earth.
o If I am a Christian …
× We believe everything we own belongs to God.
× We focus on God and His priorities.
× We dedicate our lives to His purposes.
× We use our spiritual gifts to fulfill His purposes.
× We offer our time to Him to fulfill His purposes.
Do you see a common theme?
Our lives should be fashioned around, not a religion, but a real relationship with a real God who has a real purpose for each of us, His saints - and that purpose is more than just existing and surviving.
God has purposes that He wants to accomplish in us and through us - to bring His Kingdom here.
I really believe God desires each of us to reach our potential in Christ - physically, spiritually and emotionally - in this life. His purpose for me is interwoven with His purpose for you - and that is interwoven with His purposes for all people. Now, who here can comprehend the complexity of how God weaves and connects His purposes in and out of our lives - and how He cause our lives to intersect in such a way to fulfill His purposes? That’s just too big for us to comprehend. So, what are we left to do?
The key idea for the week -
“I give my resources to fulfill God’s purposes.”
How is giving of my resources connected to the complexity and fulfillment of Gods’ purposes? Well, let’s talk about giving of my resources and sed if we can connect the dots.
We’re going to pull out some verses from 2 Cor. 8-9. These two chapters are about a monetary collection for the church in Jerusalem. The Corinthian church began a year ago - inspired the Macedonian churches’ generosity - finish the collection.
What are my resources?
Understand, we’re not talking only about money.
My resources are anything I have that can be given away.
So answer this - What do I have that I can give to help fulfill God’s purposes? Just name three.
What did you come up with? Money. Possessions. Skills. Food. Wisdom. We have a lot to offer. See how that is connected with the Church is God’s primary way of accomplishing His purposes on earth? We are the Body ….
I image that many people probably feel bad for not having as much to give as they would like - and sometimes that can make people feel less than. If we are good stewards God does not hold us accountable for what we do not have.
God knows my situation.
He knows what you can and can’t give. For example, if you make $40,000 a year, He doesn’t expect you to give like someone who makes $100,000 a year.
For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
Never feel guilty for not having as much as someone else. However, God knows your situation, but He also knows -
God knows my habits.
Several points to cover regarding giving our resources. The point is not to remember all of them - but to listen to God - what does He have to say to you about a particular issue.
1) Giving is a Stewardship issue.
It’s not about what we don’t have, it’s about managing what we DO have.
Biblical stewardship is the diligent and intentional care and management of God’s estate
–of what God owns.
What does God own? Everything - so, it is
Our responsibility is to manage (steward) our lives well so that God can fulfill His purposes in us and through us.
Whether it’s a car or cash, a boat or a box, a bagel or brains, a talent or a Twinkie -
Whatever we have God should have at His disposal.
Used for His glory ….
Q - Lord, how am I doing as a steward?
2) Giving is a Love issue
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
The Lord Christ Jesus left His glory in Heaven, stepped into our dirty messy world, became a man, died for our sins so that humanity - humanity living in darkness and spiritual poverty so humanity could become rich in Christ. And why did He do it? Love. If He did it because of love - then we should do it because of love - love for God and love for others.
I heard this from a preacher, wrote in my Bible and so I share it with you.
Love manifests itself in giving.
When people love, they give.
The more I love Christ, the more the things of this world grow dim.
Q - Lord, How is my love for you and others? How is my giving?
Love is a choice, a decision - doing what is best for someone else. So, understand,
Giving is a love issue - not an emotional issue.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
I can give money to every person on the corner out of guilt - but that is neither biblical nor wise. I am called to be a steward of what God has provided me. I manage, not based upon guild or compulsion - but out of love and wisdom. Again - not talking only money.
Easier to give when done for the right reasons - can be fun.
3) Giving is a Lordship issue
And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
Prior to giving of resources, monetary or otherwise, Paul praised the Macedonian churches for giving themselves to Christ. The idea is of submission - giving myself and my possessions first to the Lord (You manage better than I do. You know the complexity of your purposes …) and from there living out what He desires.
Some give because of guilt, pride, self-gain …. And some without because of fear, self-centeredness, pain …. Q - Lord, who’s Lord of my life?
4) Giving is a Likeness issue
What are your main goals? Serious reflection. The goal of every Christian should be to be like Jesus.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Q - Lord, am I acting like a child of God - or like child (mine mine)?
4) Giving is a Personal Choice issue
Remember, about how much we have, but about managing what we have.
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
5) Giving is a Trust issue
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Sowing and reaping is not about keeping. As we give, we receive, so we can what - give again for every good work - to fulfill His purposes.
As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way (not just money) so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Can He part the waters? Can He tear down walls? Can He raise someone from the dead? Can He save sinners? Is God trustworthy? Can He save your soul? Can He give you eternal life? “I believe all that.” Good - can He replace what you give away?
The entire Christian life is about trusting God to do what He promised. If we can trust Him with our souls, why not trust Him with our resources?
Q - Lord, how’s my trust?
We have a hard time with this because …
6) Giving is not a Logical issue
It’s a stewardship, love, Lordship, likeness, choice, trust issue -
How is giving of my resources connected to the complexity and fulfillment of Gods’ purposes?
I give my resources to fulfill God’s purposes.
Look at your list of resources - Lord, what do you want me to do?