The following is a transcript/summary a video message. I originally recorded this and put it on Face Book. I tried to upload the video to my blog but it is currently not working. I will revisit this and try it again. Until then, enjoy the transcript. I hope that it blesses you and you find the scripture passages helpful in your walk with God.
Prov 11:24-25(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language)
24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.
I am just dropping in today with a short message about giving and receiving. Oftentimes we fit giving and receiving into two categories. We either only associate it with Christmas, birthdays and other holidays and make it about gifts, or we pigeon hole the concept of giving to encompass only financial and monetary contributions. Because of these cultural associations that we have created, most people turn off their “thinking caps”, to use a term from elementary school, and do not listen to lessons on giving, or we just refuse to tune in or talk about it at all. While I will briefly touch on finances in this short lesson, I am only doing so because the Bible has more to say about money than it does about any other topic. Matthew 6:21 states that where your treasure is that is where your heart also is. I have heard the thought my whole life that what controls your check book, even if it is the necessities, will control the attitude and direction of your life and heart. In this economy it is tough to hear pleas for money for missions, for the church, and for the impoverished and less fortunate because we, ourselves, are also struggling. It is in these times though that the church in Macedonia, recorded in II Corinthians chapter 8 bound together and gave liberally out of their poverty. This was the original economic stimulus plan!! God knew before Obama thought he knew. I’m going to read some out of II Corinthians Chapter 8 from the Message translation. Finding and rediscovering these passages of scripture has opened my eyes to a whole new level of giving and receiving. It takes away all of our excuses. God’s economy is not our economy. Regardless of your secular politics and your opinions on the direction that the United States is headed, we can all agree that it is the nature of God to abolish fear. I say this all the time; I refuse to participate in the fear surrounding economic recession!!
Paul Speaking about the church in Macedonia to the church in Corinth,
2 Cor 8:2 Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. 3 I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could — far more than they could afford! — 4 pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians. 5 This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives. ( Skipping down ) 9 You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us — in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.
You have to give in proportion to what you want to receive. If you are stingy with money and gifts, you will be met with stinginess. If you are harsh and judgmental, you will be treated with that same level of mercy. Christians love to quote the following passage from Luke chapter 6 to motivate us to give of our financial resources. We get so excited because in our hearts, we are not giving from the motivation of pure Christianity, we are giving to receive.
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
However, if you read this passage in context with the statements preceding it, you find a commandment that is almost more difficult than the commandment to give liberally of financial resources.
Luke Chapter 6 (KJV)
36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
I like the message bibles interpretation of Luke 6: 38
Message Bible Luke chapter 6
38 Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back — given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
Remember that giving and receiving is not only about finances. It is about time, love and tenderness (to quote the great Michael Bolton)
Reminds me of a story I heard about a Baptist preacher who just finished his sermon for the day and proceeded toward the back of the church for his usual greetings and handshaking as the congregation left the church. After shaking a few adult hands he came upon the seven year old son of one of the Deacons of the church.
“Good morning, Jonathan,” the preacher said as he reached out to shake Jonathan’s hand.
As he was doing that, he felt something in the palm of Jonathan’s hand. “What’s this?” the preacher asked.
“Money,” said Jonathan with a big smile on his face, “It’s for you!”
“I don’t want to take your money, Jonathan,” the preacher answered.
“I want you to have it,” said Jonathan. After a short pause Jonathan continued, “My daddy says you’re the poorest preacher we ever had and I want to help you.”
Let’s not associate everything with money!!
James 1:5 (New American Standard) But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.