Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Plain Talk About Giving

Becoming a generous person who loves to give begins with recognizing the grace of God. Paul cited the Macedonian churches as examples of people who had experienced God’s grace and consequently, became givers (1 Cor 8:1). Though they were poor, they gave far more than anyone expected. The apostle says that these people really comprehended what Christ did for them and came to the conclusion of “How can we hold anything back?”

Until you have really experienced God’s grace, you don’t recognize opportunities to give. Isaiah said it like this, “Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD” (Isa 26:10).

Grace only impacts our lives and inspires us to share what we have if we recognize the grace of God. For the one who has been touched by grace—the majesty of God can be seen in a thousand different ways every day.

When the Antioch church grew rapidly, the Apostles in Jerusalem wanted to know what was going on there, so they sent Barnabas. His response is recorded in these words, “When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts 11:24). Had they sent another, they may have gotten a completely different report.

Generosity has nothing to do with how much one has, but it has everything to do with how much one cares. Jesus cited an example of a poor widow who displayed great liberality though she gave only a fraction of a penny (Mark 12:43-44).

Here are some principles of good stewardship:

·         God entrusts to us what is within our ability to accomplish (Matt 25:15).
·         Our giving starts with what we have, not with what we don’t have (2 Cor 8:12).
·         God is the owner of what he has placed in our hands (Matt 25:19).
·         God disapproves of laziness and expects obedience (Matt 25:28-29).
·         God rewards faithfulness and fruitfulness (Matt 25:21).
·         Giving our tithes and offerings is a privilege, not an obligation (2 Cor 8:4).
·         Strive for contentment, and manage well what you have (1 Tim 6:6-10).

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