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God loves a cheerful giver

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					God loves a cheerful giver!
2 Corinthians 9 : 6 – 15


Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously
will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not
reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace
abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every
good work. As it is written:
    “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
    His righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will also supply and increase your
store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every
way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in
thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God‟s people but is also
overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have
proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the
gospel of Christ, and for you generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their
prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.!

Today you have each received the Dedicated Giving Pack for 2008. In it there is some useful
information with regard to the finances of this parish and also a brief teaching on what the Bible
says about the need to give to the Church. And now I get to tell you a bit more about the whole
concept of GIVING!
This is probably the one sermon you have been looking forward to all year - - - right? - - - when
we get to talk about MONEY !

I don‟t recall the name of the old movie, but the end has the main character deciding to commit
suicide by swimming out as far as he can from the shore, until he is exhausted and then just letting
himself go under. So he swims far out and as he is going under, he looks up at the surface of the
water and decides not to go through with it after all. He pushes himself to the surface crying “I
want to live! I want to live!!” and then starts to swim back to the shore.
It‟s a long way off and he realizes he‟s not going to make it, so he begins to talk to God. He
promises to obey all the ten commandments – then he realizes he‟s in with a bit of a handicap
because he doesn‟t know them – so he promises to learn them, if God gets him to shore. Then
he starts to panic and he gasps, “God, if you get me out of this mess, I‟ll give you 80% of
everything I have.” Still he‟s swimming and feeling remarkably stronger and he can even see the
shoreline. Now he sees a glimmer of hope and the says: “God, help me to get to shore alive and
I‟ll give you 10% of all my earnings”. Still he swims and he eventually gets to the place where he
knows he‟s going to make it to land. It‟s then that he says: “Well God, let‟s just forget about what I
said before. I think I can make it from here on my own!”

That character‟s attitude to his wealth in relation to God is the attitude of many people today…….
the attitude that says “money isn‟t everything – but it‟s way ahead of whatever is in second place!”
Or the business person who says “I operate my business by the golden rule….. whoever has the
gold makes the rules!”

Now I don‟t want you to think that this is going to be a sermon just on our need to give our money
to God, NO, Does that make you feel relieved? Good because God actually wants more than
that!!!
It‟s interesting that the religious leaders of Jesus‟ day, were noted for their strict obedience to
God‟s laws, laws which required the tithing of their money or goods. They gave a tithe - 10% of
everything they had to the temple, yet listen to what Jesus said to them – recorded in

 Matthew 23 : 23
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and the Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your
spices – mint, dill and cumin, But you have neglected the more important matters of the law –
justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the
former.

Jesus is saying that there are more important things that don‟t relate to the giving of our money,
that are more important than that. And what is that?!
Jesus is looking at the attitude of the heart – and the giving of ourselves and all the talents
that God has endowed us with.

I‟d love to leave out the whole money thing, but we have to be practical, it‟s impossible for the
church to operate and do God‟s work without money.
You‟re probably not going to believe this, but the firms that provide our supplies of water and
electricity, telephone, paper, candles … and all the other stuff we need to keep „church‟ going …..
want actual money from us! Can you you believe it …. They don‟t want
Spiritual advice from us, or even our prayers, they want money ….. pretty tough hey! But it‟s a
reality!
BUT if everyone only gave money and did not offer any service in God‟s church, it still wouldn‟t be
able to operate. It takes a combination of your money and your time & service.

Just imagine if everyone sent in their money – or promise of it as we are asking you to do on
Dedicated Giving Sunday on 8 June. What if you just sent in your money and never showed up
for any services or to do any ministry using your gifts and talents. No flowers or prepared altar &
vessels – no worship group – no sidesmen – no congregation !!– just Rob & the clergy staff !!
That‟s not God‟s church! Is it??

Jesus didn‟t just provide us with money, He gave himself totally. We can give no less to him and
his work. If everyone in God‟s church would give of their money and of themselves, we would be
amazed at what could happen! And we are all longing to be amazed!
So don‟t just look at the pledge of money card, but also pray about the dedication of time. – there
are so many opportunities to offer service to the Lord in this parish.

The story is told of a mother who experienced great joy when one of her children gave her a
bouquet of dandelions. The dandelions were freely available and they were abundant and they
were hers anyway since they came from her garden – or lawn! – What made the bouquet special
was the declaration of love from her child.

That is what our giving is – a declaration of our love for God. Giving him what is rightfully His out
of gratitude for what he has done for us – giving us eternal life, freedom from our sins, through the
death on the Cross of Jesus, His one and only Son. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Everything we have comes from God, my family belongs to God, my home belongs to God, my
care belongs to God. What I have isn‟t because of any family inheritance, or luck of the draw or
even the sweat of my brow - & boy do we sweat it out in the office!! That may be the means that
God works through, but ultimately, He gives us everything. He owns it, it is His gift to us. And
when we give, it‟s an acknowledgement of God‟s ownership and lordship in every area of our life.
We can‟t out-give God and maybe the greatest reason we should give to God is because of our
gratitude for all he has done for us. A famous missionary, C.T. Studd once said “If Jesus Christ be
God, and he died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for him.”

I really believe that my purpose this morning is to speak about our attitude when giving to the
church, whether it is financial or giving of our time. I just need to refer you to the Word of God in
2 Corinthians 9 where it says that we should give and that we should give liberally and cheerfully
of ourselves to God.
I‟m not going to say that God will strike you with a bolt of lightning if you don‟t tithe a tenth of your
income and likewise, I‟m not going to say that God will be satisfied if you give R10 to the church
out of your salary of R10 000.
Vs 7 reads:
Each man [or woman] should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under
compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Jesus reminds us that where our treasure is, our hearts will be also. When we think God‟s work is
important, we will give to it. When we think God’s work is important, no one will have to beg
us to use our talents or our money to help carry it out. Dear people of God, when God gets
hold of your heart, what you give as a result will be enough. God himself,….. He will move you to
give what is sufficient.
In our materialistic society, we must guard against valuing material things – our possessions, -
more than spiritual things. We need an entirely new attitude towards life - get our priorities in
order. Instead of trusting and worshipping the things we have, we need to use them to worship
God and show our complete trust in him.
Our giving is an indicator of how much we trust God.

The story is told of an ambitious young man who told the pastor that he had promised God a tithe -
10%- of his income and he asked the pastor to pray with him for God to bless his career. At that
time he was making just R500 per week and was happy to tithe R50. As time passed, God
blessed his career and he was tithing R500 a week of his R5 000 earnings. He called the pastor
to chat about being released from his tithing promise to God because he felt it was becoming too
costly. In all honesty, the pastor said that he didn‟t think he could be released from that promise,
but he offered a solution. To make it more affordable for you, he said, we can ask God to reduce
your income to R500 a week again and then you‟d have no problem with tithing the R50!

2 Cor 9 : 6 tells us clearly:
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap
generously.

We can be generous in our giving because we have a God who cares for us and provides for us.
Listen to these words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 6 : 30
O you of little faith, do not worry saying, „what shall we eat? Or what shall we drink?‟ or what shall
we wear? For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need
them. But seek ye first his Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to
you as well”

Interesting ….. the more we seek the things of the Spirit, the less material things mean to us. We
still use them and enjoy them, but we recognize who has given them to us. We understand that
we do not own them. We are merely custodians/stewards of these things and we only have a
loose grip on them. It‟s the loose grip principle we need to apply: open hands freely in giving –
open our lives freely in offering service to others.
Someone compared the principle of giving to the concept of a pipeline. Water will flow through a
pipeline as long as there‟s nothing blocking the way. If you block up the pipe, the water will stop
flowing.
One of those old Chinese parables speaks of the same sort of thing - a man owned a rice field
and irrigation water ran through the field and made it productive, but it also flowed into the
neighbour‟s field and gave him blessings as well. So when the next season arrived, the rice
farmer said to himself “Why should I permit all the waters to flow through my field into his? Water
is wealth in this rice business and I need to keep it for myself.” So he built a dam and kept the
waters on his field alone. The problem was that the waters grew stagnant and made his field a
swamp and it killed his crop. The water was only valuable to him as long as it was fresh and
flowing!
We saw that principle in Israel last year – there‟s a body of water called the Sea of Galilee. Water
flows into that sea and it flows out by way of the Jordan river. It teams with life and is the source of
some prosperity for those living nearby. But down in the south part of Israel the Jordan river flows
into another sea ….. do you know the name of that body of water? The Dead Sea – nothing
lives in it at all - ……. You can have a lot of fun in it …. But nothing lives in it …. Because the
water flows in, but it doesn‟t flow out!
It‟s the concept of the pipeline …. And that‟s what God is teaching us to be in Paul‟s 2nd letter to
the Corinthians.

John Wesley – you recognize the name – the founder of the Methodist church said: Get all you
can, save all you can, and give all you can. [pipeline] The world tells us to get all we can, can all
we get and then sit firmly on the lid.!! [build a dam]
 Ever wondered why investments are called “securities” and „trusts‟?? Necessary in terms of
provision for today‟s economy but our real trust is in God for His perfect provision for our lives.

To summarize…… Verse 6 „sow generously – reap generously‟ gives us the principle of investing
abundantly in God‟s work. Verse 7 gives us the next principle ….. decide in your heart what to
give and give cheerfully and expectantly .. then verse 8 tells us the product of that giving: ……..
all those superlatives:
All grace abound to you so that in all things at all times having all that you need, you will abound
in every good work.
And your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God!

As others benefit from our faithful giving – giving of our time and money - they in turn will praise
God –. We experience that when we go on outreaches to Egypt -
God receives thanksgiving and praise. As we give of ourselves in every way, God‟s work grows.
It’s a win, win situation when God’s people support God’s work the way God’s Spirit leads
us to do.

Over the next two weeks, as the Spirit leads you, be obedient to His prompting – when God tells
us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, He is calling us to love Him – and
show that love – with ALL THAT WE ARE AND ALL THAT WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN in time,
talents and in material things ……..
That is our act of worship.
When we practice giving as a way of life – not just money, but our time and abilities, we bless
others, we ourselves are blessed, we meet the needs of both church and people, and we glorify
God.
He gave us one Friday a Saviour and a sacrifice on a cross…. He gave us one Saturday, a
borrowed tomb and a death …. He gave us one Sunday, an empty grave, discarded grave clothes,
and a risen Saviour. He gives so that we can give ……… He‟d never ask us to do what he hasn‟t
already done himself. With all of that giving, how can we not reflect the heart of God in our giving
to Him by giving to His people? Praise God for His indescribable gift to us.
AMEN

				
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