Friday, 13 June 2014

The Grace of giving

(The following is a word I am giving to the church on Sunday).

I have to be honest, the reason I am mentioning giving this Sunday is that the finances of our church are not in a good place and I don't want us to run a deficit this year.  But I also want to talk about giving so that you may be blessed.

You will get no shortage of preachers who will tell you that giving leads to blessing but I want to say that giving is a blessing in itself.  The apostle Paul reminds us that it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35).  But how is giving a blessing to the giver?

Giving is a blessing to the giver because the right sort of giving pleases God and the Christian delights to please God.  But what sort of giving pleases God?

Cheerful giving pleases God.  God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:8).  The Pharisees were scrupulous givers but they didn't impress Jesus.  Jesus looks to the heart of the giver.  He looks for a generous heart.

Not only does he look at the heart of the individual giver, he also looks at the heart of the church.  Because we have a practical need to balance the books we could value the wealthy person who can give more, more than the poor person who can only afford to give a little.  Such an attitude flies in the face of the book of James which forbids showing favouritism to the rich.  Remember that the person who we see impressing Jesus most with their giving was a poor widow who gave only a mite.

So please give so that we can balance the books.  But much more importantly give with a cheerful heart so that you can know the blessing of delighting your Father in heaven.

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