Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Generosity Questions

You are the exception!  

By virtue of the fact that you opened this page and are reading these words, you are already in a small minority of people.  Why?  Because most people who read the title of this post and saw the word "generosity" would run the other way.  (see today's message about generosity here)

There are many reasons people don't want to talk about this.

  • Guilt - because some know they should be generous, but they aren't.  
  • Shame - because some would like to be more generous, but past decisions put their finances in a bind, so they can't.   
  • Distrust - some assume that anytime someone uses the word "Generosity" (especially a church!) that it must be code for "we want more of your money."
  • Uncertainty about what God will do.  This is a big one.  It was the big one for me when we first began to give generously.  When you start giving a lot of money away (whatever that means to you), it's a huge step of trust in God.  What if I run out?  What if I need it later?  What if...
The story of my life and the lives of countless other people who give generously is this:  You cannot outgive God.  He ALWAYS blessed us far beyond our giving, if we will be faithful and give generously - lavishly.  Here are five reasons I give like that, with a few scriptures you might want to take a look at:

  1. Blessing from God & Trust in God.  If we tithe (give 10% to our local church where we call home), God's promise is to bless us in lavish ways.  This does not necessarily mean that God will bless us with more money, though that often does happen.  But regardless of the form it comes, the blessing ALWAYS comes.  Here's the promise: Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. (Mal 3:10, NIV)
  2. God entrusts me with resources for HIS purpose, not mine.  Matthew 25:14-30 is a powerful lesson on this, and I encourage you to read it.  The punchline of this potent Jesus teaching is that I am responsible for being faithful with what God entrusts to me to be used on His behalf.  When I'm faithful with little, God will entrust me with more.
  3. God expects me to give with a smile, not a frown.  If you're going to be mad about it, God would rather you keep it.  Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:7, NIV)
  4. I am no longer hostage to my money.  It used to control me, now it works for me.  I don't need money, I need something - Someone - lasting!  God will provide my needs, and I'm not relying on something as temporary and uncertain as the dollar anymore!  And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19, NIV)
  5. I am responsible.  Another parable in Matthew 25:31-46 makes it clear that I am supposed to care for the needs in front of me.  When I give generously by tithing to my church and giving beyond that to other needs, I am doing my part.
When I'm finished with this life, I want to be able to look back and know that I took care of my family and that I wasn't a burden on society.  Nothing wrong with those goals, and I have them too.  

But I want to also know that I left the place better than I found it, and that I was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.   You cannot be fully devoted to God and not be a generous giver.  God gave lavishly.  We are to do the same, and in return, we get to have a better, freer life, and know that we made a difference along the way.

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