When I was young I always dreamt about the day I’d be able to sit before a Church and talk to them about Money ($not really$).
I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed but our society is very guarded when it comes to anything involving personal capital. And rightly so, I mean, with all of the gimmicks, cons and scams in our world we acquire an uneasiness to be generous. Charities, Churches, and non-profit organizations end up being the ones who suffer in the end.
Or even on the complete opposite end of generosity, when we’re the one receiving blessing we get confused because it’s not a natural response for selfish humans to give or accept freely. Instead it’s this, “What do I owe you?” “What’s this going to cost me?” “What’s the catch?” We have learned that free, isn’t really free. Or is it?
I think we all have some room to grow in this area of generosity; both giving and receiving – not just in the Church but in life.
In college when my coaches wanted our team to develop we would always go back to fundamentals. At differing times we’d have these “mini-camps” to improve technique where there’d be specialty position coaches who’d help each athlete work on their area of expertise. Linemen went with linemen, backs went with backs, so on so forth. But it was all about focusing in, doing self-examination for growth.
Or maybe the sports thing doesn’t resonate with you.
Maybe you have a younger or older sibling where there was an example to follow, especially if you weren’t the “perfect one”? Now, you and I both know that the proverbial perfect brother/sister wasn’t really perfect, even though Mom thought they were. We knew they were actually a booger flicking wedgie giver. The point is, Mom/Dad were trying to communicate there was something in our life that needed work. Resentment could become the outcome, but it generally wasn’t the objective.
That’s why I love looking to the Bible for easy examples to follow.
Check out what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, “1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
See, the Corinthian church was young, and urban, and cool; they had a great web cite, like Starbucks and Jesus. Macedonia on the other hand had been around for a while, they were seasoned and wise. And so Paul actually uses the Macedonia Church’s example of generosity to spur on Corinth.
This is so crazy because at this time there was a BIG recession. It was hard to make ends meet, let alone give. But I want you to get this picture in your mind: 2 separate church bodies suffering economically & financially yet Paul specifically marks the Macedonian church with 4 variables: 1-Extreme affliction 2-Severe poverty 3-abundant joy and 4-overflowing generosity.
In these dudes extreme affliction and severe poverty they gave not only out of their means but it said “above their means” and it resulted in this abundant joy. Maybe that’s a fundamental to true joy that we’ve been missing – – helping one another, giving to one another, serving one another.
God doesn’t need your money, He needs your heart. Because once He has your heart, the natural response is that everything else follows. Make no mistake the world around you can see where your treasure is by following your debit card because each swipe is an act of worship.
You will either use money and love people, or you will use people and love money.
I’m never afraid to talk about money at restoration because it doesn’t own me, I own it. And actually I’m just borrowing it from a generous God who has some deep pockets.
So if you’re like the Macedonians right now thank you for serving and giving to a cause that is bigger than you. If you’re like the Corinthians and need to grow, just know that it’s a new year and God specializes in the restoration process.
Lastly, there are tons of great Churches locally, but I want to shout out to some of the Macedonians real quick
Free Spirit – Thank you for donating time to serve the needy
Relevant – Thank you for serving local teachers
His House – Thank you for your giving gift drive
Oasis Christian Center – Thank you for leading in global missions
Thank you for the encouragement to be generous with my time, talents, gifts, and wallet.
If you’re reading this and don’t have a place to plug in, check those 4 dudes out – they’re kingdom minded and it won’t cost you a dime. #teamjesus
Because He Lives, Pastor AB