We continue our sermon series entitled ‘Joy Bringers’. This week’s preaching comes from Chris Hughes.
This service also includes ‘virtual’ communion.
Money today is often given the silent treatment, it being something of a taboo subject. Yet the Bible has a great deal to say about money, while at the same time being incredibly transparent about it. This is especially true when it comes to the apostle Paul, who on his missionary journey’s asked the churches to contribute towards a relief fund for the famine-stricken Christians in Judea.
The church in Corinth had agreed to give, but twelve months down the line was suffering from an acute bout of amnesia! So, Paul wrote them a lengthy appeal letter, part of which is a key verse that offers a principle for Christian giving, before identifying three different types of giver. Here is the verse: –
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9 v 7.)
The Principle – The amount given is to be thoughtfully and deliberately planned (see also 1 Corinthians 16 v 2.)
1 – The SAD Giver.
Such givers do not please God because they give ”reluctantly,” with money operating as a rival God (Matthew 6 v 24) having a vice like hold over them resulting in sadness when it is given away.
Antidote = Being so consecrated to the Lord that his grip is stronger than that of “Mammon,” resulting in money being given willingly (1Chronicles 29 v 5 & 6.)
2 – The MAD Giver.
Such givers do not please God because they give “under compulsion,” not really giving with pure motives, but because they feel obliged to give, which in turn makes them angry and mad!
Antidote = To cultivate the art of giving freely in obedience to the words (Matthew 10 v 8) and example (2 Corinthians 8 v 9) of Jesus.
3 – The GLAD Giver.
Such givers please God and gain his approval because they see giving not as a pain, but a pleasure, and – “God loves a cheerful giver.” In a culture that cries “get,” Jesus says “give;” in a culture that cries “retain,” Jesus says “release” (Acts 20 v 35.) And don’t just do it, but do it joyfully in response to all that you have received from me (John 3 v 16 & 2 Corinthians 9 v 15), as in the case of Zacchaeus (Luke 19 v 1 – 9) where a money grabber became a money giver.
Challenge – Which giver are you most like? Remember, only one truly pleases the Lord.
1 – When at home we are bombarded by appeals (mail, cold callers, TV, internet etc); then when we attend church, we are often asked to give towards something or other. It can sometimes be overwhelming, so what is your planned strategy to enable you to cope and to give wisely and well?
2 – When it comes to giving the motive is more important than the money itself. So, if you give “reluctantly” or “under compulsion” how will this impact: –
- The recipient?
- You personally?
3 – Reflect upon and apply the following thought to your own life – “the more that I love God and remember all that he has done for me, the more willing I will be to financially give willingly, freely and cheerfully.”
Title: Joy in Giving
Reading: 2 Cor 9:1-7
Preacher: Chris Hughes