The Gift of Giving
Man named William/16/left home w/ all he owned in a bundle/trade was making soap/met riverboat captain who said, son, someone will soon be the leading soapmaker in NY, it might as well be you. Be a good man, yield your heart to Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to Him, make a good soap and give a full pound.”
Got job at soapmaking co./tithed on income/became partner/then sole owner/gave 10% of profits off the top…20-30-40…finally, 50%/died…William Colgate.
Henry Crowell “The autocrat of the breakfast table”
Contracted tuberculosis as boy/unable to finish school/heard D.L. Moody preach/was stirred…he said, “Lord, I’m not called to preach, but I can be a successful businessman/give generously to the work of the Lord”/bought a run-down mill in Ravana, OH (Quaker Mill)/in 10 years Quaker Oats had become a household name/started giving 10% (increased to 70%, which he maintained for next 40 years)
These men possessed the gift of giving.
Definition: the special ability to prosper financially, and give liberally to the work of the Lord.
“So, that’s why I don’t tithe…I don’t have the gift of giving!”
Hold on! Don’t confuse the gift of giving w/ the grace of giving.
Every believer is expected to exercise the grace of giving by obeying the command to tithe on their increase. Tithing is not a gift…it’s a command. And we don’t give the tithe, we return it.
Ill.—my son won’t have to pray about taking out the trash when I ask him to. Though I’ll ask nicely…it’s a command, and not open to discussion or side deals!
The gift of giving goes far beyond the tithe. They see the tithe as only the minimum/starting point/launching pad.
James Cash Penney—90% of profits to Lord
God gives the gift of giving to people that He knows He can trust to be a vessel that He can flow His resources THRU.
Realizes all he has belongs to God…and his God can ask for any and all of it any time he wants to.
Understands they have a God-given ability to prosper/wisdom/health/talents/shrewdness
Has attitude of river…not a reservoir.
We need gifted givers to pick up slack and make up difference as some simply will not tithe. [I didn't say 'cannot']
They realize that much has been given and much is required, and that in a poor economy even the obedient tithers in the church aren't able to contribute enough to do God's work properly, and they sense God's call to help make church visions a reality...and they give more. 'Give 'til it hurts' = make a sacrifice, which is what God respects!
[discussion] Socialism/taxes/fairness. Should the rich be penalized? Should the government take from them like Robin Hood? But on the other side of the coin, should they voluntarily give? A few say, Yes!
The numbers don't lie. Many here tithe, and some 'tip.' Many go above the tithe in missions and other areas. I'm thankful for each one who contributes at any level...and glad not to know who they are! But the harsh reality is that about 5% of givers give about 75% of our missions money...that's like a small handful of people. I'm thankful for them as well...and so are 75% of our missionaries whom we would have to drop if not for them!
(smallest # of any gift…special ability)
Some who are poor have this ability! The widow in Scripture gave her mite and it was her all!
But many who have this gift have the gift of making money, or are blessed with money...and yet that is not all it takes. Rich people can be the stingiest on earth. Some say, that's how they got rich. If you are talking about being frugal and wise and saving, then that's great. If you are talking about being a hording miser and not a giver...not so great.
Being blessed with money doesn't make you a giver. Giving a lot doesn't make you a giver. It's the heart of giving that makes you a giver! The gifted giver has a heart to invest in others, to invest in eternity, and things of lasting value.
Matthew was tax collector …means 3 things
Despised because they had sold out to Roman gov’t. Overcharge and give gov’t a portion of profits.
Had reputation as selfish/greedy/wealthy
Matthew was converted, and given the gift of giving.
He gave up his lucrative job to follow Jesus.
9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
Truly, “a new creature…old things are passed away, all things become new.”
Characteristics of giver:
6:1-4 Pharisees thought they could buy the favor of God…and also, they loved the praise of men.
Sinful mankind: capable of defiling even something good like giving!
Not hallelujah offering—public pledges, but in secret!
They don’t do it for recognition, but for glory of God.
I have a commitment not to know who gives what. I don’t know who biggest givers are…neither do you! It’s probably not who you think it is!
Those strong in giving are strong in faith…the 2 go hand in hand.
6:25-33 “o ye of little faith” [opposite of faith is worry]
joke—lady said, don’t tell me worrying doesn’t help. Nothing I worry about ever happens!
Givers are people of faith who have seen God provide, and know He always will.
They are strong in faith.
They want to see it put to use.
6:19-20 Givers do not generally have large bank accounts stored away…their attitude is, why should it just sit there when it could be put in action.
Attitude: “only what I give away can I take to heaven w/ me, and only what I send ahead will be there waiting for me”
Balance: nothing wrong w/ planning for future and saving…only prudent!
G. W. Truett, 1st Baptist of Dallas, TX, was invited to another church to help raise money for a new bldg. They needed to raise 6,500 to build their building debt-free. (long time ago!)
Miracle Day offering: only $3,000/then the goal was announced/everyone sighed.
An older couple/lady said out loud to husband/we just got our little house paid for, last week man offered us 3,500 for it/we can rent for a while. The husband said, that’s a great idea. Raised hand/ “Dr. Truett, give us a few days to sell our house, and you’ll have the rest of that money you need”/people in congregation broke out in weeping, to think they would give up their lifetime home/in a matter of minutes they raised the extra 3,500 they needed.
(weren’t meaning to give themselves glory, either)
6:24, 33 They have proper priorities…they don’t view their job or career as a means of getting rich, but as a means to be a bigger blessing.
They get a raise, yet lifestyle doesn’t change. They don’t view more money as a chance for bigger house, new car, nicer things, but as an opportunity to share more for God’s glory.
Joke—man who loved money, wanted to take it w/ him/had wife cash out and put it all in a duffle bag in attic for him to take on his way up (should have put it in the basement!)
Give secretly/great faith/don’t want to stockpile/motivate others to give/life doesn’t revolve around money
Dangers: (potential liabilities)
3 things the Bible says bring pride to an individual:
knowledge, money, power—most w/ gift of giving have all 3, in order to get there! They should be careful not to take credit for what God has done in them and thru them, but remember it’s all a gift of God!
Ill.—Nebuchadnezzar/Babylonian Empire/God raised it up/Neb. Took credit…look what I have done!/God abased him/7 years he ate grass like an animal!
Some God wants to be a giver never arrive, because they have the attitude: I worked hard for it, I deserve it, it’s mine!
Attitude: Why should I drive that van, I bought it. Why should I help on work day, I practically paid for the whole new addition!
You cannot buy God off/absolve yourself of responsibility to serve!
Regardless of what you give, this is God’s church. It’s not mine, and it’s not yours. [Shirley Temple/daddy’s church] No one deserves to have their way because of what they pay. God doesn’t need us!
We should all want it to be done God’s way anyway, not our way!
Ill.—pastor in FL/30 people/1 big giver holding it all up/sits down front/at noon holds up his watch and taps it!
Ill.—John Maxwell tells of man in his first church who was his largest contributor. Church grew like crazy. A decision was made that man didn’t like…got his feelings hurt. Approached pastor on his way to pulpit to preach, waving something in his hand…a check. He said, “I just want you to know, I’m gonna hold it out a while”/ what are you talking about?/ “my tithe! We’ll see how you all get along w/out it!”
Maxwell said, why you telling me? It’s not my money, it’s not yours, it’s God’s…you need to tell Him, not me! Let’s tell him now (pushed him to his knees and prayed: Lord, this is Bro. Neal here w/ me, he doesn’t like what’s happening around here, and has decided to rob you for a while!”
“I didn’t mean that!” Apologized, repented of attitude, still thanks him to this day for teaching him the most valuable lesson of his life.
It’s not mine, it’s not yours, it’s God’s!
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