October 13, 2013 – Pastor Tim – “The Giver”
2 Corinthians 9:6-10 and 15,
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:
“He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness … 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
The Los Angeles Times covered the 2008 conference championship soccer match between two Christian schools, Azusa Pacific University and Westmont College, it was about far more than winning the game. Three days before the championship, a wildfire had swept through the Westmont campus, destroying several academic buildings, faculty homes, and student rooms.
Unable to host the game, the rules required Westmont to forfeit. Instead, Azusa invited their opponents to play at their campus where they welcomed Westmont fans with free admission and lunch.
On the field, Westmont won an emotional 2-0 victory, while Azusa Pacific won the admiration for their good will. LA Times reporter Bill Plaschke wrote: “Rarely in Southern California sports has there been a better show of sportsmanship than this, Azusa Pacific sacrificing its chance at a title defense to give Westmont a fair shot at taking it. As impressive as this resilience of the conquerors was the kindness of the conquered.”
So often we think only of money when the Bible calls us to give willingly and bountifully. “For God loves a cheerful giver.”
Leviticus 19:18, You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
When I forgive I must let it all go, carry nothing forward. No revenge, no anger, no grudge. I can’t do that, but The Lord of grace can do it in me. He can “renew a right spirit within me”. He can stop the poison from destroying me. When you cannot forgive someone pray for them; it may not change them but it will always change you!
Matthew 5:23, 24, Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. The promise of your harvest begins when you forgive. As important as it is to be obedient in our finances, if we are only giving an offering (money), we are missing the point of God’s “indescribable gift” of grace.
Giving others forgiveness or offering hospitality to those who hurt is generosity that makes winners of everyone involved—it brings forth a harvest that money cannot buy. Rallying to meet the needs of others is the heart of a giver…the servant of God.
The manner of giving shows the character of the giver more than the gift itself.
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