Generosity: Make it a Positive Experience

I’ve noticed in my heart and mind, the more I think about myself and focus on things I want, the idea of generosity becomes less and less desirous.

On that note, I had a conversation with a young man a few months ago. I didn’t bring up the topic but he was quick to express his anger about giving money to support the local church ministry. As we were speaking, I wondered how he thought we could have a ministry without generous giving. But, in any case, he understood generosity in a negative way. He saw it as giving what he worked hard for to someone less deserving or to something he personally didn’t benefit from. In my experience, the way this young man thinks about giving and generosity is typical. With that said, the way the Apostle Paul explains generosity seems counterintuitive to the way most people think about stewardship and giving.

 

2CO 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 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. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 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. 11 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.

 

We learn some key principles from this text:

 

1)      If you keep everything for yourself, you won’t have a harvest

2)      You reap what you sow

3)      God loves a cheerful giver who gives freely

4)      God will meet our needs

5)      God supplies us with more than we need so we can share with others

6)      God blesses us by enabling us to give generously

7)      Generosity results in thanksgiving to God

 

When you give, give cheerfully because your gifts support . . .

 

Missionaries in foreign lands, missionaries in North America, Siouxland region ministries such as: Youth for Christ, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Her Health Women’s Center, Sioux City Gospel Mission, Siouxland Christian School, One for Israel, Children to Love, etc.

 

Please don’t forget the ministry of our local church we call Heartland. Your generous giving supports Bible studies, children’s ministries, youth ministries, transportation ministry, recovery/restoration ministry, benevolence ministry, outreach ministry, etc.

 

Giving cheerfully also applies to the tools and facilities that God gives our local church to carry out His mission. As we maintain buildings and continue to develop our property (a gift from God), we aren’t building it exclusively for us, but for those who haven’t heard the gospel, for those who are looking for help, for those who are hurting, for those who need to experience the love of Christ. In fact, our property and facilities are a center for worship, a house of prayer, a hub for training in righteousness, a meeting place for recovery and restoration and an oasis for the poor and hurting.

Indeed, we continue to build a ministry hub to bless others. It is a crossroads for the community. We share it and it blesses our city.

 

What is the takeaway?  Give cheerfully because God is working through you and the result is the praise of God. God is giving you the privilege to join Him in His work. He is pouring out His blessing through you. People will praise God because of your generosity. God promises a great harvest for those who sow generously. This isn’t about your money, but your stewardship. Everything belongs to God so, how will you manage His resources?

 

Ask God what He desires of you. Give with a clear conscious. Give with a cheerful heart! Practice generosity as God intended—that is, as a positive experience!

 

A Work in Progress,

 

Pastor Gene

Gene StocktonComment