Generosity Ripples

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11You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13By 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, 14while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!  2 Corinthians 9:11-15 

Throw a pebble on a pond and watch the ripples spread. Grasped between the fingers and flung to the middle, that single stone reached its target and sank, but the affect went to the edges. Like a pebble on a pond, money given may meet a temporary need but the generosity makes lasting  waves. Generosity ripples.

Paul inspires the church in Corinth by showing them the multifaceted impact of their financial gifts. When we take the stuff of earth and leverage it for the work of the Gospel and the life of the church we make waves.

  • God makes our generosity possible… over and over.
  • Our generosity produces worship and thanksgiving toward God from the immediate beneficiaries and from the people who benefit from the life of the church and her servants in Great Commission labour.
  • Our generosity is a ministry serving God and the church.
  • Our generosity flows from and drives us deeper into the Gospel of Jesus.
  • Our generosity produces affection, prayer, and appreciation of God’s grace.
  • Financial giving is only a small ripple of the awe produced by God’s most awesome gift for us — Jesus Christ.

What a privilege! Generosity ripples into eternity! Let’s make waves.

Which one is not like the other?

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“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, 

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ 35Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”  Luke 7:31-35

The games we play searching for a handle on life.

Remember the game? Remember the exercise in learning how to differentiate? Which one is not like the other? But now that we are growing up we must add a second question:  Which one is not like the other and what does that mean?

We can differentiate. And there are many places in life where we must. However, the problem comes when we are infected with the temptation to control for uniformity. Like the generation viewing Jesus and John the Baptist we are frustrated by not being in control. We play the flute and you do not dance! We sing a dirge and you do not cry!

Missing the diverse work of God.

Jesus is drawing out the proclivity of his generation and ours to miss the work of God when it is different from what we expect. Could Jesus and John have been more different in the lifestyle? John lived the life of an ascetic in the desert. Jesus lived the life of one fully engaged in the lives of city sinners. John fasted. Jesus feasted. And the people were dismayed by the difference so they judged and accused: John has a demon. Jesus is a glutton.

The Beginning of Wisdom

Jesus says wisdom is demonstrated, shown, justified by her fruit… by her children. Wisdom begins with worship. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” So there it is, the source of Jesus and John’s difference is God. As we each pursue Christ we should not expect that we will all be uniform in the expression of His grace and truth through our personality, passions, patterns, professions, and prayers. Wisdom encourages us to watch with wonder and delight as The Spirit of God manifests the image of the Son in the followers of Christ and His church to the glory of God.

 

Haiti Disaster Relief

The Vancouver Sun has a suggested list of organizations Canadians can choose for Haiti Disaster Relief giving.  The Canadian government will be matching gifts given to a number of these organizations.  My number one suggestion is to give to those who already had staff on the ground in Haiti.  If you had a relationship with an organization or orphanage before the earthquake in Haiti they will likely need your help now too.

The Challenge of Generosity

Here are the notes from Sunday’s message at Cityview in our series, The New Testament Challenge.  The audio will be available later this week.

“Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Luke 6:38

The Big Idea:  Generosity relies on the abundance of God.

1.  Jesus believes you can afford to be generous.
2.  Jesus confronts us with an alternative economy.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.   Matthew 6:19-24  NIV

See Luke 18:18-33

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”    23   When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a   man of great wealth. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!

Common Challenges to Generosity

A.  “I’m not sure I have enough.”

“Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his posses- sions.”  Luke 12:15

Generosity challenges our vision of success.

B.  “I’m in too much debt.”

“The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the
lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

Generosity challenges our addiction to stuff and lack of restraint.

C.  “I’m not sure the other person deserves it.”

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!   James 2:12-13

Generosity challenges our judgmental nature.

D.  “I’m overwhelmed; there are just too many people with needs.”

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but   has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.   James 2:14-17

Generosity challenges us to act now.

E.  “I don’t want to be part of the problem.”

“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.”  Galatians 6:1

Generosity challenges us to seek wisdom.

F.  “I didn’t know.”

“They will answer, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you.”  Matthew 25:44

Generosity challenges us to see Jesus.

G.  “I just need a little bit more.”

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with every thing for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  1 Timothy 6:17-19
Generosity challenges our greed.

4. Beware the temptation to make godliness and generosity a formula for this world’s vision of success.  Beware the temptation to make generosity another system of divine credit.

3 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.   1 Timothy 6:3-10

5.  Next Steps

A.  __________  Enter the Kingdom of Jesus and His new economy of the Abundant Life.

B.  __________  Memorize the verse.  “Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”   Luke 6:38
C.  __________  Determine to give from what you have.

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”  Matthew 5:42

D.  ___________________________________________