Today we wrapped up our Open Handed series by talking about giving generously. Giving unleashes a joy that sets us free and brings breakthrough for others. There are four main reasons we give: We give for love; we give for joy; we give for sacrifice; and we give because we are storing up treasures in heaven. Check out some of our takeaways from today’s message:
- If we can’t trust Him with our resources, it will be hard to trust Him with the other areas of our lives
- Everything is wrapped up in loving God and loving others
- Sacrifice is not sacrifice when love is central
- We give because we love Jesus and we love others
- When you give abundantly God is always able to refill the bucket
- The joy of seeing the grace of God abound in someone’s life is worth more than the money we sacrifice
- The joy of giving causes the rejoicing of Heaven
- It’s not how little can I give, it’s how much joy can I have
- When we give, we give obediently and consistently
- The joy of giving sets us free
- One of the keys to financial freedom is giving
- Love always ministers to others and sets people free
- We give because we are storing up treasures in heaven, not earth. In heaven you’ll never say, “I wish I had given less.”
Who doesn’t remember their mom or dad responding to the universal question of, “But why?” with the answer of the ages; “Because I said so, that’s why.”
Though very little comfort was derived from this answer, when it comes to the authority God has placed over us, it really is all we need. We may not like it and we may want more, but we don’t need more.
In the context of the question, “Why do we give to the church and to what the church is doing?” (like building a building), is it enough to hear in response, “Because God said so?” Let’s see what the word of God says:
- Concerning ownership: Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.” In other words, He owns everything…including our very lives. We are stewards (managers, not owners) of all that is in our hands, meaning wallets and bank accounts and houses and retirement accounts and investment portfolios and…you get the picture.
- Concerning stewardship: Matthew 25:14-30 says, “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants (stewards) and entrusted his property to them.” God relates our role of manager to a servant who is entrusted with the owner’s property when he leaves to go on a trip. One day, the owner will return and we, the stewards, will be asked a simple question; “What have you done with what I entrusted to you?” In this passage of scripture, the owner looks to praise the servants who took what had been entrusted to them and invested it wisely so it would grow. We don’t want to be the servant who “buries” our stewardship only to be held accountable for what was considered to be a very unwise use of the owner’s resources.
- Concerning our part in generating the income that produces wealth and the assets we possess: Deuteronomy 8:18 says, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” Not only are our possessions His, the very ability that allows us to create wealth (which translated means more than today’s food and more than one change of clothes) has been to given to us as a gift. We can’t even take ownership of that!
- Concerning, “How much of what God entrusts to us do we give?”: 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Since we don’t own it, surely God is giving us this guidance on how much of His property to give, so we are the benefactors of His grace and mercy as we attach our hearts to the eternal and not to this world (Matthew 6:21).
- Concerning where we give His resources: Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house.” A tithe means a tenth and in the days of the Old Testament, the children of God actually gave three tithes (Deuteronomy 12-14); two every year and one every third year. If you are doing the math, that works out to be 23 percent every year. This scripture is telling us to give to God’s house, the church, so the needs of the House are met. When it came time to build God’s temple (1 Chronicles 29), the people were asked to dig deep and give generously…and they did!
So, the answer to our question, “Why do we give?” appears to be clear. All of it (our stuff) is all His anyways. We are His stewards and managers and even our ability to earn income and build assets is a gift from Him. We are blessed generously to the extent we give generously and He wants the needs of His house to be met.
Is it enough for you to give because God asks us to?
By Pat Murphy, Director of Development and Elder
I know I’m supposed to be the guy that teaches on Biblical finances, but if I’m honest, I really don’t like the idea of giving. To my number-crunching, tight-fisted, “it’s-not-in-the-budget” brain, it seems like such a waste of my money. I have bills to pay, kids to send to college, other “more important” things to take care of. Giving is the last thing I want to do!
So then why does God invite me to give? Actually, why does He command me to give? Psalm 24:1 says God owns everything, so surely He doesn’t need my money. Why does He tell me that even though it is the last thing I want to do, it should actually be the first thing I do?
Here’s why: because He knows it’s good for me and you.
And why is giving for our good?
Giving helps REALIGN our lives with the one thing that really matters: knowing God and making Him known.
- As we give, it takes the focus off ourselves and puts it back onto God and what He wants to do through our money. God knows that when we only focus on our needs and our wants it creates more discontentment, less thankfulness and less joy.
- At its core, giving is really about worshipping God.
Giving multiplies our money.
- I know the math might not work on paper, but God promises to multiply our resources when we give.
- Here’s what Paul had to say to some of his friends who decided to give out of their incredible poverty. “ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for foodwill also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10).
- Until we give our money away, it cannot have the great impact God intended for it. For some of you that might be difficult because you feel like you don’t have enough money to give, but God promises to give us more “seed to sow” as we give.
Today, as you are looking at the pile of bills and all of the things you should be doing, know that God understands exactly where you are at. He knows exactly what you need and His invitation to give is not out of spite. He wants you to be set free! And giving is what will get you there.
By Josh Lawson
Do you want to know more about how to live out Kingdom values with your finances? Pre-order Josh’s new book, ReAlign: Finding God’s Purpose for Your Money, today!
You may have noticed a picnic table under a beautiful white oak tree by the church offices.
One of our staff members, Jenny Pang, created a group learning experience within the church staff by inviting people from several different departments to participate. Together, they built this wonderful picnic table and those who worked to create this table now share a unique bond.
Those who had a hand in its creation will always see this table differently than the rest of us who, though we like it, admire it and even utilize it, can’t fully appreciate it in the same way as those who have given something of themselves to see it built. Tears, sweat and probably even blood went into creating this table that is used almost every day and enjoyed by all.
The parallel is obvious: those who have given to support our campus expansion project will always see and experience our new facility differently than those who either did not have the opportunity to be involved or who did not take advantage of the opportunity given to them.
This is an invitation to those of you who have not yet participated in this “family project.” We need you and the whole family to get involved!
Don’t miss the opportunity to have a vested interest in this. Now is the time!
By Pat Murphy, Elder and Family Pastor
It’s all about ALL of us being on the journey together.
My wife Andrea and I have four kids, and when we travel without one of them (or all of them), it just isn’t the same. Now don’t get me wrong—it is good for married couples to get some time away without their children. But our family isn’t whole unless we are all together.
Our family has a blast when we’re together, especially while we are traveling. We love to play games like the ABC game, where you try to be the first person to see every letter in the alphabet off of billboards and road signs. We love the stories we have about crazy things that have happened while traveling on road trips. Of course, it’s a great feeling to reach our destination, but the most important thing about our family trips is that we are all together.
It is going to be awesome when we all get to see this new building completed. But the level of joy we each experience will be somewhat connected to the level we have each engaged in the journey. I am in no way referring to the amount of money given. Jesus made it very clear in the story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44) that the size of the offering given isn’t the important thing. What really matters is the amount the heart is engaged.
The only thing each of us needs to do is his or her part. For some, it may seem like an insignificant amount, and for others it may be a lot more than we anticipated. But if we all do our own part, we can trust God to take care of the rest.
So come join us in the journey. We need everyone in the family to do their part or it just won’t be the same. And what a joy it will be to celebrate together when we reach our destination, sharing stories for years to come about the incredible journey getting there—together!
By Mark Owen – Eldert