September 24, 2007

generosity

Posted in giving, investing, money at 6:35 pm by weiszguy

I’m speaking at my church in two weeks on the subject of generosity.  With the help of a little book on generosity, I brain-puked everything I know into the following.  This is not the message, of course, but most of what I say will probably come from this list.  The Bible has much more to say about money than just this, but I’m limiting the message to just generosity.

God is the owner of everything, including all that you currently have or ever will have.  You don’t own it, you never did.  When we give to God, we are just taking our hands off what already belongs to him.

God is the provider of every good thing in your life.  Your rich uncle in Vermont didn’t provide it, your own creative genius didn’t provide it.  God provided it for you so you could use it in the best way possible.

Your role is to be the trustee, manager, and steward of 100% of what God entrusts to you during your lifetime.  Spend your time thinking about ways to maximize the impact of your master’s resources.  Remember, it’s all his.  You want him to be pleased with what you’ve done with his resources.

The Lord watches your giving.  Sorta like Santa Claus.  He knows when you’ve been bad or good.  The Lord rewards those whose hearts are truly his.  Be generous with what he has entrusted to you.

Don’t become prideful about anything God has entrusted to you.  Remember that it’s all his, including any growth you’ve overseen.  Give him the honor and glory for everything.

Even the poor are to give to God from what they have.  It doesn’t matter if God has given you a little or a lot; whatever he has given you, give some back.  Jesus considered the poor widow who gave two pennies to have given more than all the others because she gave out of her poverty, trusting God to take care of her.

Set up a plan to faithfully give 10% or more of your financial resources to the Lord’s work.  It might sound difficult at first, but it is God’s plan.  And he will take care of those who have faith in him.

Don’t trust in your riches, but trust in God.  Eventually, your riches will fail.  If not in life, your riches will fail you in death.  God has saved you and will bring you to heaven with him, but your riches will not be allowed entry.

Understand that riches can deceive you.  It is possible for your spiritual vision to be clouded by wealth, as well as a lack of wealth.  Keep your eyes on God, who promises never to deceive.

Train your children to be faithful and generous givers.  If you train them while they are young, they will never know any different.  Being generous will not be difficult for them because that’s just who they are.  Generosity will be ingrained in their spirits.

Focus on being content with God’s daily provisions.  Rather than whining about what you don’t have, or how little God has blessed you, consider all the ways he HAS blessed you.  Realize that what God has provided is exactly what you need.

You cannot serve both God “and” money, but you must learn to serve God “with” money.  The money God has given us can be a powerful tool when put to use according to his plan.  Instead of serving your money, make your money serve God.

There are dangerous consequences if you live for pleasure.  Chasing anything other than God’s will will leave you empty.  Trying to find joy by living for pleasure is like trying to catch the wind with a butterfly net.

Don’t live for this life, but for your heavenly home.  By investing in God’s kingdom, instead of this kingdom, we effectively send our wealth on ahead.  Storing up treasures in heaven will be more valuable in the end than storing up treasures on earth.

The desire for “more” can be a destructive force to your life and faith.  It can cause you to pursue more and more wealth at the expense of the things that will really matter in the end.  Don’t let your focus shift from God, to “more”.

In building projects a large gift and a group of leadership gifts can glorify God and result in great generosity and rejoicing.  Your reaction to God’s claim upon your resources might be what spurs others to be faithful with their resources.

Life does not consist in the abundance of your possessions.  Life has nothing to do with possessions.  Possessions are tools to serve life, not the other way around.  In fact, possessions can weigh you down and cause you to be defined in ways you might not want to be defined.

Give in proportion to how God has blessed you materially.  How can you use your blessings to bless others?  Don’t be afraid to honor God as your income increases.

Women play a significant part in giving to God’s work.  Don’t think you have less to give because of your gender.  You may have more to give.  Remember to be faithful with whatever God has given you.

Beware of greed, hoarding or selfishness in your life.  Saving is a good idea, but there is a fine line between saving and hoarding.  Remember that the manna you saved from yesterday will be rotten tomorrow.

Give careful thought to your financial practices and never neglect God’s house and servants.  Churches and ministers depend on people giving to them for their survival.  Don’t forget to honor God by giving to the needs in the local community.

God has a high regard for a Christian in humble financial circumstances.  God is able to do amazing things with the gifts of people who think they don’t have anything.  God takes the humble and lifts them up.

God has good works for you to do during your lifetime.  You are here for a reason, not by accident!  Please don’t go to the grave without having done the job God has for you to do!

Some people are called to extravagant giving.  Like the early believers in the book of Acts, sometimes we may be called on to sell a major asset and give the money to God’s work.  If he calls you to do this, consider it an honor and a privilege, not a sacrifice or a chore.

God can do great things through one person or a group that is devoted to him.  The bible is literally packed with people who simply did what God said to do, and God did amazing things through them.  What could God do through you if you gave your life completely to him?

God blesses you financially so that you can be a blessing to others.  Many times God has a bigger agenda than just meeting a need.  Sometimes he wants to use the need to teach others how to be generous.  Thus, the donor and the recipient are both blessed.

It is appropriate to ask people how you can help them.  Often people are afraid to make their means known.  But a simple question can spur them to really be honest about their needs.  Many giving opportunities are right under your nose, if you can just learn to sniff them out.

God will reward you for your faithful generosity and diligent labors.  God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

The giver and the front-line worker are equal partners in God’s work.  Some people are ordered to be soldiers, others are ordered to grow food to send to the soldiers.  Both are doing what their general wants, and both will be rewarded.

Your giving will be a great help and encouragement to others.  Some people may be materially blessed by your giving.  Others may be inspired to their own acts of generosity.  Some may be so awed by your material gift that they devote their lives to giving as much as they can to help others.

Your pursuit of God and a generous life will give you a fuller and richer life.  Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Seeing the impact of your giving will cause true happiness and satisfaction inside your soul.

Realize that God will bring specific people into your life that you can truly help.  Sometimes the only purpose God has for them is to teach you a lesson about giving.  There will always be poor people, and we must never give up being generous.

Any wealth gained by the wrong means has serious consequences.  This wealth will gnaw at your conscience and cause you to loose sleep.  You will likely loose this wealth and cause irreparable harm to yourself and your family.

Realize God can use anyone and any resources to provide for his work.  God does not need us to be rich in order to accomplish his goals; rather, God needs us to be generous.  A poor man who gives 10% of his income is worth more to God than a rich man who gives 2%.

Your giving in this life will have an impact on your experiences in eternity.  You will be rewarded in heaven for your generous acts on earth.  The more you give, the greater the eternal reward.

When you help the poor and needy don’t do it for public recognition.  Remember, your reward is in heaven.  Don’t praise yourself, or glowingly accept the praises of others.  Remain humble, and God himself will lift you up.

Even your smallest acts of kindness will be remembered and rewarded.  A cup of cold water is pretty easy for most of us to give.  Giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty person is the same thing as giving that water to God.

A main focus of your giving should be your local church and ministry staff.  Much ministry happens in a church building, and much ministry happens at the hands of the church staff.  Supporting your local church is the primary way you can support God’s work with your generosity.

Building projects are worthy of your support.  You will feel a sense of pride in your building, if you have given generously to build it.  And although God doesn’t live in houses built by man, he is honored when people come together to praise him.  Help your building to be a place where God is praised.

God will show you other giving opportunities worthy of your support.  Maybe someone is ill.  Maybe someone is hurting.  Maybe someone has suffered financial loss.  Maybe someone is in prison.  God will lead you to numerous opportunities if you ask him.

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