Luke 18-19, 21
God’s economy is different than ours. The stories of the rich young ruler, Zaccheus and the poor widow are reminders that God is not looking at the size of the gift, but the motivation behind giving it. God’s not after our money, but us. And yet we cannot give ourselves to Him without giving everything to Him, including our stuff.
Just as our Father is generous, He wants us to be generous too. Because of our so great salvation, our thankful and happy hearts should loosen our grip on our stuff and free us up to give…and to give generously like both Zach and the widow. In fact, we as believers should be the most generous folks on the planet!
But so often we’re not. We act more like the rich young ruler. Maybe it’s because we have too low a view of God. Maybe we’re afraid to trust Him because deep down inside we believe Him to be stingy…that somehow He might hold out on us. And if we give away what we have, there won’t be enough for us.
Yeah…but that’s not the picture that the Bible paints of who God is…think about the number of stars in the heavens, the number of galaxies, the greatness and vastness of space. In the Genesis account, when God creates the sun, moon and stars, what is their purpose? To give light to the earth, and for signs and for seasons. Seems to be a bit extravagant, doesn’t it?
What about God’s grace and His mercy and His love? His boundless, immeasurable love? The cross where the sins of all mankind were placed on His beloved Son. Every sin atoned for. Every one. So that all might be saved…if they will believe in Jesus.
So if God is so incredibly generous in these things…both in creation and in redemption, then why would He be stingy in providing for our needs (birds and flowers)? Our generosity problem has nothing to do with our wealth or lack thereof. The widow was certainly not rich by anyone’s standards. It has everything to do with our faith and obedience. So the question is, do you trust God enough to give generously?
When I was growing up, giving was not a practice my parents modeled. With eight kids…money was always tight. So giving wasn’t something I was used to…and putting myself through college, I never had two nickels to rub together as my dad would say. I didn’t think I could afford to give. So it wasn’t until I met my wife Wendy that I even considered giving as a spiritual discipline. And even then, I wasn’t sure how the giving thing would work out. But we did it anyway, and we haven’t looked back since.
For some of us, giving is a discipline that we’ve practiced for awhile. Somewhere along your spiritual journey, someone challenged you to make giving a regular practice, and so you’ve done it for years. Thank you for your faithfulness and your generosity.
If giving is new to you, I know what it feels like to look at your finances and wonder, “how?” Let me just challenge you to try it. Pick an amount and begin to give regularly. Set a goal…maybe ten percent, and build those giving muscles until you reach it. Taste and see that the LORD is good. Strive to become a generous giver, not a bigger barn builder, knowing that investing in the kingdom pays eternal dividends. Then your heart won’t be wrapped up in your stuff, but in the kingdom. Just like Zach and the widow.
This post is based on a sermon from our main service. Download the podcast at: Central Christian Church Main Service, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter: @ccclancaster. You can also download our Central Christian app in the iTunes App Store.