Matthew 6:19-21

 

What kind of tip do you leave for bad service?

Tipping is kind of like a Defense score in Fantasy Football – you start with 10 points and go up or down on the quality of the game.

I will give ten percent even for bad service – it may not be the waitresses fault anyway.

Good service, attentive service the tip goes up and depending on the need of the person, if we have a small conversation (pregnant etc.). How do you tip?

 

Did you read the story of the couple out celebrating their anniversary and their service was horrible?

They waited 20 minutes for water, 40 minutes for an appetizer, and more than an hour for an entrée. They had plenty of time to talk without being interrupted on their romantic night out.  But their expectations were not met and they were not happy.  How much of a tip do you think the waitress received?

About 150% – they gave $100 tip on a $66 bill.

They wrote on the receipt, “We’ve both been in your shoes. Paying forward.”

 

They were living generously even in their frustration.

 

Did you hear the story of DeAngelo Williams, of the Steelers?

He left a .75 cent tip $128.25 bill. Why?  Because he did not have exact change; he didn’t want to leave any tip because he received poor service and the wrong food.

 

That is not living generously. That is stingy (What can you expect he is a Stealer.)

 

Are you generous or stingy?

 

Generosity is being open handed; a closed hand shows you are stingy.

Be a giver not a taker.       Don’t hold onto what you have but give what you have, not just money but time and emotion to others.

 

Can you really live a Christian life and be stingy?

Christians should be known as generous – giving someone a shirt off our own back.

We are generous that is why people in need give us a call.

 

Matthew 5:41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

 

Jesus is teaching a spirit of generosity. Give what you have to offer.  You have more than money to offer others.

The early Christians practiced this spirit of generosity.

 

Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. 33  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. 34  There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35  and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

 

This is Christian community – not communism. Each individual owned his property and gave freely.

Barnabas lived a generous life; Ananias and Sapphire not so much.

 

Acts 5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2  With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.

 

They lied to the Apostles and to the Holy Spirit.  You can’t lie to God.  Their deception cost them their lives.  You don’t have to give the whole price of what you sell but you can’t lie about the sell price.

 

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 

God demands we give and we need to learn to give cheerfully. We are merely giving back to God what is already His.  All we own is God’s; we are managers until He comes again.

 

Is your money yours or God’s?

I had a Christian tell me that he earned everything he had, God didn’t give him anything.

Be careful – At least he was honest about his attitude toward his possessions.

Many live out this attitude but would never say it.

They hold onto their possessions because they believe it is theirs.

Don’t be Scrooge McDuck or Mr. Krabs; live generously.  All you have is God’s.

 

Jesus came to give and we must live to give.

 

Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have challenged other billionaires to give away half of their net worth.

What is interesting is that they haven’t yet. They are still #1 and #3 on the richest peoples list.

Mark Zuckerburg, creator of Facebook, took the pledge, he has pledged to give a billion dollars a year.

You may not be able to give like that.  But then again maybe you can.

Zuckerburg’s net worth is 55 billion – one billion a year is less than 2%.

Do you give 2%?

Franklin Co’s median income is $45,000 – 2% would be $900 a year, only $17 a week.

I would call that stingy.   I have read that the average Christian gives 2.5%.  That is not generous.

 

God doesn’t care how much you give; He cares how much you have left.

 

Remember when Jesus was in the Temple area watching the people. What got him excited?

 

Mark 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. 43  Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”

 

Jesus didn’t say look at what the rich gave – they were being stingy.

Jesus got excited when He saw the poor widow give.

Jesus said the rich gave out of their wealth – they had plenty to live on after their gift.

The poor widow gave 100% of what she had.

Do you want to see Jesus get excited – give all you have, give out of your poverty and trust Him to provide.

 

You may say, “If I give 100% that is not being a good steward of what God has given me.”

I agree. There must be a balance between stewardship and generosity.

We just start with the wrong attitude.

We start with stewardship – we say, “God wants me to take care of my family a certain way.”

Let’s start with trying to give too much away, asking God to give us wisdom when to stop giving.

Start with your hand open not closed.

Giving is an attitude, that is why God wants a cheerful giver.  To be cheerful we must change our attitude.  What is your attitude about money?  Is it yours or God’s.  If you believe it is God’s then there is no problem giving it back to Him.

 

Do you know what Mark records two verses before the poor widow’s gift?

Mark 12:38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the marketplaces, 39  and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40  They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.”

 

Was the poor widow poor because her house had been devoured by the religious leaders?

In her despair she gave all she had left; she was thanking God and trusting in Him.

 

We also learn that Jesus is watching what you put in the offering box.

This is not to scare you but it is to hold you accountable.

Others don’t know what you give but God does. God knows if you are stingy or generous.

God knows what you are sowing.

 

2 Corinthians 9:6  Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

 

My garden at home is not going to reap the same amount as a farmer who planted hundreds of acres. We understand that in farming but not in our finances.

I am not saying that if you give God is going to give you that much and more back in cash. I am saying He will take care of you now and for eternity.

 

Matthew 6:19 “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. … 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.

 

You can’t trust in money to buy you happiness and trust in God at the same time.

Giving to God is about trusting God.

In the wilderness the Israelites had to trust God each day for their provisions. We need to learn to do the same.

 

American Christian has a spending problem.

We want something, we buy it – that is called selfishness.

We are depressed so we buy something to make us happy – that is called self-reliance.

Things don’t bring happiness; Jesus brings happiness.

 

This sermon is not about money – it is about living a generous life before Jesus.

How can you live more generously?

Give your time – give your 2 hours of service per week.

Be generous with praise and encouragement.

Meet the needs of others

Create a fund so when someone is in need you already have money to give.

Open up your home to foster kids – We met a young lady who opened her home – the kids have broken her heart in rebellion but she gave them all she had – love.

 

Listen to what Paul tells Timothy.

 

1 Timothy 6:17 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 everything 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.

 

We are rich

Put your hope in God

God provides for our enjoyment

Be rich in good deeds

Be willing to share

As a result, you will lay up treasures in Heaven

 

That is a generous life. It starts with hope and trust in God and ends in Heaven.

 

God doesn’t want or need your money; God wants your heart.

 

Psalm 50:9 I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, 10  for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills….23  He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”

 

Living generously is about honoring God with the resources He has given you.

As you honor Him and trust Him with little things like MONEY you will be on your way in trusting Him with your life.

 

Jesus gave all so that we could have salvation.

What are you willing to give?

 

The first decision is to give yourself to Jesus.

 

Jesus wants you just the way you are, broken and sinful.

 

He will forgive you and clean you up. He will begin to bring healing in your life.

 

Then out of appreciation you will be able to give Him the rest of your life in service.

 

Are you ready to live a more generous life?

 

Do you need to accept Jesus’ generous gift of salvation?

Come today – repent of your sins and be immersed for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

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