Description / Transcription
Father in heaven, as we come to Your Word we simply pray that You would help us, help me to speak humbly, boldly, truthfully. Help Your people to listen, humbly and well. Penetrate through our hardness of heart, our indifference, our distraction, and remind of us of Your great grace to us. In Jesus name. Amen.
If the preacher doesn’t talk about money every once in a while, then he’s a coward or he’s not really preaching from the Bible. Because the Bible, whether we like it or not, has a lot to say about money. Just think, for example, about the Gospel of Luke. Almost every chapter has something about money; Mary’s Magnificat in chapter 1 is about how the rich and the poor are going to trade places in this great reversal, chapter 3 John the Baptist commands tax collectors to stop their extortion, chapter 4 Jesus announces He came to preach good news to the poor, chapter 5 Matthew the tax collector leaves everything to follow Jesus, chapter 6 blessed are the poor, chapter 7 John the Baptist is contrasted to those who live in luxury in kings’ courts, chapter 10 the Good Samaritan, chapter 11 give us our daily bread, chapter 12 the anxious man, the rich… On and on we could go, all 24 chapters. Almost every single chapter has something to say about money.
The Apostle Paul talks a lot about money, and we’ve been seeing it in concentrated effort here in these two chapters for the last four weeks in 2 Corinthians chapter 8 and chapter 9. Week one, the character of generosity, what does generous giving look like. Week two, the motivation for generosity, why do we give. Last week the administration of generosity, how do we handle the gifts of God’s people. Someone did say that was the best sermon they ever heard on administration, also the only one they had ever heard, but I’ll take it.
And then this week the blessing of generosity, what happens when we give.
So follow along as I read from 2 Corinthians chapter 9, beginning at verse 6.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!”
When Christians are generous, there is lots of blessing to go around. Now most obviously those who receive the gift are blessed, whether we give to people or churches or institutions, they receive the gift and they’re blessed. A number of you have pointed out correctly that these two chapters aren’t explicitly about giving to a church, a Capital campaign, even missionaries or schools explicitly – this is about a collection for famine relief for struggling brothers and sisters in another part of the Roman Empire, in Jerusalem.
But by extension we see here principles for generous giving in whatever ways further the work of God in the world, and though this particular passage is about one thing, about famine relief, we see those other sorts of themes in other passages. For example, 1 Timothy 5:17: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching, for the Scripture says do not muzzle the ox when it treads out the grain and the laborer deserves his wages.” So there we see the principle that those who give spiritual things can receive financial remuneration.
Or 1 Corinthians 9, “The apostles and brothers have a right to make a living from their work. Those who proclaim the Gospel should get their living by the Gospel.” So there we might think of supporting missionaries and other Gospel workers.
And we see in many places the benefit of providing alms or charity or donations for the poor.
So however the blessing goes out, whether to be received by Gospel workers or churches or missionaries or the poor, obviously they’re blessed when they receive from your generosity.
I know I speak for all of us here who are employed by the church that we give thanks for you and I believe, not just believe, I know with all my heart I am at a generous church and I thank you for that, my family thanks you for that.
Besides those obvious blessings, however, I want to focus on two other blessings, and they are both found in verse 11. Two other blessings when Christians give generously. Yes, people are helped, but more than that, we are enriched, number one, and number two, God is glorified. You see both of those in verse 11, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way,” that’s the first blessing, “Which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”
Or you see in verse 13, “By their approval they will glorify God.”
Or the second half of verse 12, “Overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.”
So two blessings I want us to focus on this morning. When you give generously, God is glorified, we’ll end there, but the first one, you, you who give, are enriched.
Now before we get to those we need to have just a little pause here because for those blessings to happen, glory to God, you are edified, you are enriched, we have to give in a certain way.
As I’ve been saying throughout these four weeks, the focus here in these chapters is not on how much, but on how, how do you give. There is a kind of giving that enriches us and brings glory to God, and there is a kind of giving which does not.
So just look real quickly. Here’s bad giving. Now it still may end up helping people and better, perhaps, than using your money on something else, but here’s the bad kind of giving. Look at verse 5. We didn’t read it, but that was last week: “So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go ahead, arrange in advance for the gift that it may be ready as a willing gift, not an exaction.”
So that’s the wrong type of gift. It requires arm twisting, being wrung out of you like when you have a wet t-shirt and you need to wring out every last drop and then you’re going to hang it up outside and it’s going to get dry. That’s not what we want in giving. People just have to twist your arm and wring it out of you.
Similarly look at verse 6: “The point is whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly.” So we’re not interested in the sort of giving that’s an exaction, that’s given very sparingly.
Or look at verse 7: “Not reluctantly.” That is, not under compulsion, not an external coercion or some self-imposed necessity. You could translate this word “not reluctantly,” you could say “not with grief, not with sorrow, not with pain.” Or perhaps the clearest way for us to think of it, God does not want giving to be a tax.
Now we ought to render to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar, but I think I’m on fairly safe ground here to say that most of us do not rejoice to pay taxes. Now you may think about, well, there are good things that happen from the taxes, but even if we try to have a good attitude and think, “Well, this may help schools or roads or support programs,” it still is an exaction, isn’t it? Someone or something or some person will come after you and find you and at great pain to you and your livelihood can wring out the tax that you owe to the government. Even if you try to do it with a good attitude, you do not have a choice. It is not voluntary, it is compulsory, it will get wrung out of you if you don’t pay it.
I forgot to look up the number, but you know there is some, the IRS has a bucket for voluntary tax contributions. You just feel like “I want to give more,” and let me tell you it is not a big bucket. Not a lot of people get to the end of the year and, “Know what I’d like to do? I think I’ll pay some more taxes.” No, that feels like an exaction.
Now whatever you think of the tithe, and there are Christians who argue that tithing is not a New Testament idea because here in chapters 8 and 9 we don’t have Paul emphasizing a tenth, and then there are other Christians who say, “Well, tithing still is a New Testament idea even though Paul doesn’t use that word here because Jesus seems to reinforce that you use a tithe.” I think there’s a good case to be made for why tithing is still a New Testament idea.
But however you fall on that, even if we say tithing is a New Testament idea, we don’t want to think of it as an exaction, as something that we don’t give freely, and as much as we may emphasize it, it’s not going to be upon pain of imprisonment or arrest that somebody tries to wring out of you that 10%.
No, I think, as I’ve said before, everyone who lives in the sight of God’s glory and knows Jesus Christ in one of the richest countries and the richest time in the world, surely we would want to give more than the poorest Israelite was giving thousands of years ago who had so much less and never knew of Jesus Christ. So I do think that 10% is a floor, not a ceiling.
But however we think of it, we must not think of it as a kind of tax that we just give and here it is, this is what I owe to the church, and ohh, I grind my teeth to do it.
No, what sort of giving does God want? Well, it’s the opposite of all of those words. Look again at verse 5: “Not as an exaction,” end of verse 5, “but a willing gift,” verse 6, “not sparingly but bountifully.” Verse 7: “Not reluctantly, not under compulsion, but God loves a cheerful giver.”
Now most of us love to spend money on ourselves. Now we don’t all love the same kinds of shopping and some people can just shoes forever and other people it’s power equipment, whatever, but you like something and you like to spend money on yourself. Studies have been done, the sort of dopamine hit that we get when we purchase something and we buy something and now probably when you see that box with the little swoosh on the side that lands on your doorstep multiple times a day in some of our houses, like mine, we like, we are cheerful. We don’t like what it looks like at the end of the month and we have to pay the credit card bill or all the other things, but we are happy to spend money on ourselves.
God would love for us to have that same cheerful attitude when we spend on others and we give to the work of His kingdom and we give to the church and we give to the poor. He loves a cheerful giver.
Have you ever looked in the Bible and tried to isolate the things that God loves? Now there’s a lot of passages about God loves His people, they’re His treasured possession, of course we see that. But besides that, God loving His people, there aren’t all that many things that it says God loves.
Here’s some that I found: God loves His sanctuary, He loves righteous deeds, He loves justice, He loves the gates of Zion, and here He loves a cheerful giver.
Do you realize, Christian, it’s not just that you’re justified and God forgives you and He looks on you with the righteousness of His Son and He welcomes you into heaven… Do you ever have the experience to know God is smiling upon you? He’s actually happy with you? Not just, “Well, I know they believe in Jesus and I guess I gotta be happy with them now and let ’em into heaven,” but actually happy with the way you’re living. Many of us go through life never experiencing… We know we’re justified and legally we’re acquitted, but we go through life never realizing that God can actually be pleased with our obedience, even when it is imperfect obedience.
Well here’s one of the ways. God loves a cheerful giver.
Just imagine a parent, a good parent, all throughout life is cheering on their children, from the littlest age. You’re taking toddling steps. You tied your shoe. You read that sentence by yourself. You memorized a verse. You’re playing your recorder. Okay, that’s harder to give thanks for, but you’re trying. You ran your race. You graduated from school. Every step of the way you see it at sporting events with parents and their children, whether they’re first place or last place or anywhere in between, there’s parents, “Go,” they’re cheering them on, proud of them for trying, happy at their efforts. Do you ever know? You should.
God cheering on you on. He does it when you give freely, bountifully, joyfully. Your heavenly Father is there with the angels, “Would you look at that? Would you look at how they gave, would you look at how they did it willingly, freely. I love that. I love you.” God loves a cheerful giver.
So when we give, not reluctantly, not as a tax, but freely, bountifully, cheerfully, we’re blessed.
So here’s the first blessing: We are enriched. You see that in verse 11, “You will be enriched in every way.”
See, God is not above motivating us with desires. God doesn’t say to us, “Well, you want to be enriched. Shame on you. You want security, you want blessing, you want My favor. No, if you’re a good Christian you don’t care about any of those things, just give.” That’s not what He does, quite the opposite. He knows what we’re like. He motivates us by these desires. It’s not like the Buddhist conception where what you do with desires is you just suppress them and you shouldn’t have desires. No, God is always motivating us according to our desires. He says, “You want to be enriched? Well, I’ll tell you how to be enriched. Give cheerfully, freely.”
One of the reasons that we don’t give generously is because we desire security. And yes, there are good proverbs and good verses about storing away and look to the ant and we want to be wise and responsible. But sometimes that sort of mindset prevents us from the generosity that we should have, because we think “I need to make sure that I always have enough and if I give anymore away, I’m going to be in trouble.” So we hoard.
There’s two ways in which we can be de-motivated from generosity. One is the person who just wants more and more stuff for themselves, but then there’s the person who says, “Well, I’m not trying to live a lavish lifestyle, I’m just really nervous about the future.” Well, you see what God is saying here? “You cannot out give God.” You can’t. No one dies of generosity. You can’t out give God.
What did Jesus say on the Sermon on the Mount? Do not be anxious. God knows what you need. He gives you what you need. Seek first His kingdom, His righteousness, all these other things will be added unto you. Don’t, don’t, okay, you want, you need those other things, right? Don’t seek those first. The way to be enriched is to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
Look back at verse 8. This is an amazing verse: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times you may abound in every good work.” You just mentally underline there all of the all’s, in every.
In Greek it says “en panti pantote pasan,” in all, all, every.
Now this is not about the prosperity Gospel, this does not say “send in your seed money and you’ll get rich and you’ll have for yourself your planes and trains and automobiles and mansions.” No, the word here is “sufficiency,” contentment, you’ll have what you need, and the goal is so that you may abound in every good work.
So this promise about being enriched is not, you know, “give more money to the church and you’re going to be fabulously wealthy.” The idea is if we cheerfully give, God will make it possible for us to continue to give, that when you get to the point, and you think, “If I give more, I’m not so sure that I’m going to have all that we need for me and my family,” what God would have us think is, “I’m not so sure I’m going to have all that I need for me and my family, so I better keep giving, because as I keep giving, that’s one way that I know for sure God will keep giving me what I need.”
Deuteronomy 15: “If any among you, one of your brothers should become poor in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your hearts or shut your hand against your poor brother but you shall open your hand to him, lend him sufficient for his need whatever it may be, you shall give to him freely and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.”
See, God wants the natural worry and anxiety we have about finances to actually motivate us to give more. “I’m nervous that I’m not going to have enough,” God says, “I understand that and I want you to have enough, so why don’t you give some more away, because I know how to take care of you.” It never says in anyone’s obituary, “Died of generosity.” That’s what did him in, just loved too much, gave too much.
What we ought to think is, you see, is a matter of faith. “If I cut back now, I may never have enough again.” Well, certainly we understand that you have years where you have more income, you have less income, and you can’t always give as much one year as you do the other year, but it’s about a mindset, about a heart of faith: “I want to keep giving, to church, to missions, to mercy, to the poor, because God has given so much, and if I hold on to all of it for myself, I’ll probably have less next year, not more.”
Here’s how Calvin puts it: “For by alms giving, like so many canals, they make the blessing of God flow forth toward themselves so as to be enriched by it.”
You see the imagery there? When you give out, you just think that, “Okay, I’m just watching the bank account deplete.” Well, Calvin says when you do that, at the same time you’re actually digging canals for all the new sorts of ways that God’s blessing can now flow to you. You’re actually going to enrich yourself.
The question is very simple: You want security? We all do. Is your security in God or in money? Those who trust in money think, “The more I give away, the less I will have.” Those who trust in God think, “The more I give away, the more God will provide for me.” That’s why in Luke Jesus tells the story about the rich fool. He was a fool. He was unwise. He was storing up for himself just bigger barns and bigger granaries so that he could sit back and say, “You finally made it.” Now why was he a fool? Well, one, he was a fool because when he dies he can’t take any of it with him, can’t take it into heaven with you. And he’s a fool because that’s not where true lasting security lies.
We’ve got a lot of people here who are in finances in one way or another, and that’s good, that’s an honorable profession, and I hope that as you have opportunity to help people with their finances, even if you’re talking to non-Christians, that you help them to see, “Well, here’s how you can be wise and I think this is going to get a good return on your investment,” but maybe you have an opportunity there to say, “You know what? The only real security we can have, and I’ll just tell you for myself, the only real security I have financially is that I trust the Lord to take care of me. We’re going to the best we can with what God has given to us, but let me encourage you to be generous with others so that therefore God might be generous with us.”
1 Timothy chapter 6: “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
This is why finances, it’s always about faith. Did you hear that? Do not set your hope on the uncertainty of riches.
Now we fool ourselves into thinking that riches are certain. The stock market over decades will always provide a yield. If I have enough, I know that I’ll be set. We used to think that, well, Social Security will always be there. Now we know, hahahaha, just keep paying into it, we’ll see what happens when I need it.
Riches are not certain. God says, “I am not against you. I’m for you. You want security. I know that. I want you to have security. Don’t set it on riches. That’s very uncertain.”
You know what’s more certain than money? God. You know what you can depend on more than money? God. You know who will always take care of you, never leave you nor forsake you, isn’t dependent upon who’s the President, who has control of Congress, what the Fed decides to do? God.
Do not hope in the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
Look at verse 9 in our text. Here Paul quotes from Psalm 112: “He has distributed freely, He has given to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.” The point is God has not been begrudging in supporting His people. He will be faithful to you to the end.
Then verse 10 is a reference to Hosea 10: “Scatter your seed and He’ll give you more seed.”
Generosity is crucial for us because it is a reflection of our belief about the character of God. Has God been gracious to you? That’s where it ought to start. Has God been gracious to you? If you answer, “Yes and amen, obviously He’s been gracious to me,” well, do you really trust Him to continue to be gracious?
Paul connects sowing with a harvest. If the farmer wants to have a yield, he can’t just store up all the seed. The point of having seed is to scatter it. You see Paul’s argument here? The financial resources God gives you, it’s like the seed, and if you want a harvest, you want a harvest of righteousness, you want to be enriched in every way, you don’t hoard the seed. That would be a very dumb farmer. Come harvest time, “Well, how’d your crop go?” “Well, I was really smart this year. I didn’t use any the seed. I got all my seed. Look at all these fools. They’ve been sowing their seed. Hahaha.” “You don’t have any crops. You’re the foolish farmer.”
You don’t get seed to hoard seed. You get seed to sow it. The harvest of righteousness, that is the harvest that comes from your righteousness, from your good deeds, from your generosity, and the yield spiritually is more ministry, relief for the poor, praise to God, eternal life, and then He gives you more seed because you’ve proved to be someone who knows what to do with the world’s wealth. You know what to do with seed. You don’t hoard seed, you sow seed, so God gives you more seed because He wants people who sow the seed.
The tight fist that is closed to giving is also the fist that is not open to receiving. When you hold it like this, nobody’s taking it from me, I’m not giving this away, you don’t have your hands open for all that the Lord wants to give to you.
Verse 11 again: “You will be enriched in every way.”
Now obviously it’s in every way to be generous in every way, so it’s that blessing would flow through you, but don’t miss the double “in every way.” This is how you don’t have, you can’t do italics and bold and underline and so you repeat things, and Paul wants to make sure we don’t miss this. If you are here this morning and you think, “I would like to be enriched in every way,” well, here’s how you start. You give joyfully, generously, cheerfully.
This is why it’s not a burden for me to preach about generosity, because God is not trying to make you sad. He’s not trying to load you with guilt. He wants to make you happy and free. He doesn’t want us to be generous so He can take things away from us. He wants to give us more, more joy, more contentment, more fruitfulness, step out in faith. Do you believe that as you give generously, God can enrich you in every way?
Here’s what Martin Luther says: “I have had many things in my hands that I lost; the things that I placed in the hands of God, I still possess.” I have had many things in my hands that I lost, the things that I placed in the hands of God I still possess.
You will be blessed, enriched in every way, as you give generously.
And then the second blessing, finally, this morning: God will be glorified.
You see that, verse 11: “Through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”
When we help others, when we support the work of Christ and His Church and His mission and His kingdom, the goal is that not only would people be blessed and we be blessed, but all the way up in a vertical direction, there would be thanksgiving to God.
Perhaps this is a good question to ask us as we think about our own generosity or lack thereof: Who is thanking God because of you? That’s what Paul says, “through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” That there were people saying, “God,” in their quiet times or in their prayers, in their church services, they were saying, “God, thank You for the church at Corinth.” Are there people giving thanks to God for your generosity?
It may be generosity of time, talent, treasure, it may not just be money. You may not have a lot of money. You may have more time. You may have other ways that you could encourage. But who is giving thanks to God for you and your generosity to them? Paul says the collection for the saints in Jerusalem is causing many Christians, and not just those receiving the gift, but those who are watching in to say, “God, we praise You for what You have done in the Corinthians to make them such a generous people.”
Look at verse 13: “By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the Gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others.”
People sometimes say, “Well, we can’t really see what’s in a person’s heart.” Maybe. Paul seems to say, “Well, I’ll give you one way you can see what’s in a person’s heart. See what’s coming out of their wallet.” If the rich ruler had told Jesus, after Jesus told him to go sell everything he had, and said, “Well, Jesus, in my heart I’m very generous.” Jesus would say, “That’s great. I’d love to see that heart look generous.” That’s why Jesus teaches elsewhere where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It is one of the clearest indications of what you and I love and care about, to look at how you spend your money.
It’s never been easier. You get bank statements, you get credit card statements, you’ve got financial software, you’ve got apps, it’s never been easier to get an accounting of how we’re spending our money.
I believe if you were to look at my credit card statement, which I pay off every month in full, go do likewise, or my bank statement, it would show, well, he’s got a house, must love that house, he pays for that. It would probably show that I love books, that I love overly expensive running paraphernalia, that I love tortilla chips and Mountain Dew, so sorry for that. I love my family, things we can do together. I hope it would also show that the DeYoungs have a deep, sustained love for Christ and His Church. I hope you could see that and I hope people could see it from the way in which you spend your money.
Now very few of us are going to actually give more money for those things than we have to give for our mortgage or our cars or tuition or all the other things that we have to pay for, but hopefully somebody could look at all of those, the actual bottom line, and see what you and I truly care about. When people see of all the other things they could have spent money on, look at all that they gave to the church, to missions, to the poor, to the work of Christ around the world or in our community, that then they glorify God. Of course they would.
Think about it. People ought to conclude God must be supremely valuable to these people, because look at how cheerfully and liberally they give back to Him and His work. God must be trustworthy because they give so bountifully to Him and His work. God must be greatly powerful to change the human heart because He’s turned these people and their natural stinginess into generous givers. God must have given to them amazing grace because they give away with such a spirit of graciousness.
In other words, does your giving and my giving make God look valuable, trustworthy, and gracious? Or if people looked, knew that we professed to believe in God, looked at how spent our money, would they think, “Well, their God must be undependable, stingy, and His grace is worth very little.”
You see verse 14: “While they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God.” The grace to be able to give and the grace to want to give. The giver of grace gets glory, and when you give away, it shows that God has given to you and therefore He gets glory. You give bountifully, cheerfully, willingly. We’re not looking for gimmicks, arm twisting, manipulation, guilt trips.
Rather, Paul’s focus from start to finish in these two chapters is on grace; God’s grace that enables you to give, that makes you love to give, that enables you to give. That’s why the section ends with verse 15, fittingly, famously, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” Grace, you could translate it. This explosion of praise is a fitting climax and summary for these two chapters.
As I said previously, grace, that word “charis” in the Greek is mentioned 10 times in these two chapters. Chapter 8 verse 1, verse 4, verse 6, verse 7, verse 9, verse 16, verse 19, and then here, chapter 9, verse 8, verse 14, verse 15. Sometimes it’s translated “grace,” other times “gift.” Charis, 10 times.
So when we talk about money, think about money, we are actually talking about God’s grace from start to finish. Paul is thankful for the gift of God’s grace at work in the Macedonians and now at work in the Achaeans. It’s the grace of God to work through administration, to work through God’s supply, to bless us, change our hearts, and the grace of God at work through the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why he says, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift.”
Now, yes, they were giving lavishly, but the inexpressible gift is what God has already done to us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, please, please, as we bring this to a close, do not separate what you do with your finances from what you believe about the Gospel. Too many Christians separate the Gospel from the rest of the their Christian life. The Gospel is what gets you into heaven, the Gospel is what gets you saved, and the Gospel is what you do Bible studies on, but then you’ve got to go into the hard-scrabble world of dollars and cents and set aside all that Gospel. For shame.
If we have at the core of our being this faith in the work of Christ, confidence in His incarnation, His redemption on the cross, our justification through faith alone, then we should never have just floating in some other category, well, then there’s sex and family and money.
Do you see how all of that is connected to the Gospel? For many of us, if we had to write a letter, say, “Okay, I want you to take two pages now and I want you to write about finances.” We’d think, “Okay, I sort of did the Gospel stuff in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, 5, 6, and 7, and now we’re sort of setting that aside and now we’ve got to do some financial planning.” Well, lots of good things about financial planning, but for Paul, when he comes to think squarely about finances, he now turns the Gospel into overdrive, because this is all about the same Gospel.
Don’t think, “Well, Gospel, that’s good for chapter 4 and 5 when we’re talking about ministers and preaching and what pastors do.” Well, it’s the same Gospel that must be operative when we talk about our giving.
Too many of us have this heart, and it’s a good heart, it’s a changed heart, and it pumps Gospel blood. What comes out of this heart that’s pumping Gospel blood? Well, we think good theology comes from that heart, good hymnody, good piety, but then sometimes we think the eyes, the hands, the elbows, the toes, they’re not exactly connected to the heart, they don’t get infused with Gospel blood. This heart pumps the Gospel blood and it’s good for Bible studies and for pastors and missionaries, but it doesn’t really connect to when you actually have to write a check or think about how you spend your money.
What Paul wants us to see, and what God wants us to understand, if that hand that writes the check or swipes the credit card is really connected to a heart that’s pumping Gospel blood, you’re going to see a difference. So when somebody says, “Well, you can’t really tell what’s in the person’s heart.” Well, no, here’s one way you can, because this Gospel heart pumps blood all the way out to the hand that goes into the wallet, all the way out to the eyes that are looking at the financial statement, all the way out to the feet that walk into the stores to buy the things that we buy.
So how’s your connection? How’s the connection between your heart, which I trust is a Gospel heart, you love Jesus, you believe in Jesus, Jesus saved you from your sins. Yes and amen. You love all of that. Is that Gospel blood pumping out to every area of your life?
Love the Gospel, really love the Gospel, and how can you not love to be generous? Because it’s God’s grace to us and it’s God’s grace flowing through us. The promise here is if you are generous, not only will people be helped, you will be helped and God will be glorified.
How can you and I be better givers? How can I be a better giver?
The answer is very simple. Get to know the greatest gift. Learn more about Jesus, spend more time with Jesus. The more you come face to face with the greatest gift, the more we will be eager to turn and lavish gifts upon others.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word, we thank You for these past weeks to think upon these matters which have everything to do with being Gospel Christians and everything to do with the work of Christ in the world and everything to do with our own joy and spiritual enrichment. Thank you for all You have done through these people, through this church, and we pray You would make us generous that we might be enriched in every way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.