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Generosity (3 of 4)

Mike Connell

Page 4 of 10
And the mean person, selfish person: We shouldn't waste so much money on this kind of thing. We should really sell that sort of thing, and give it to the poor. Ever heard people say that?

I remember I was trying to get a school facility going, and I had one of those (this is the principal's office, where everyone comes in) Chinese-Hat lights, you know, just a little wee light bulb thing. I thought: we need to get something; so I went around looking.

I spent a lot of time to try and find something that would be attractive, and represent the Lord and what we're doing well; and yet wouldn't be excessively expensive. I got something that was $35, how about that?

The same person that erupted over the giving, erupted over that - and I'd actually given it. Generosity exposes meanness; and the kind of comments that mean people usually say is: oh, it shouldn't be wasted on that. It shouldn't be wasted on something that honours God, it shouldn't be wasted on... shouldn't be wasted on…, shouldn't be wasted on... You know what? “We should give it to this person who's in need”.

Now when people start to talk like that, you know what? Ask the question: how much are you giving? Because inevitably, coming out of a selfish heart, a heart that's mean, a heart that's not generous - it's a heart that's locked up.

It says: “he said that, not because he cared for the poor, but because…” he was missing out on an opportunity to put his finger in, and get a little bit for himself. Selfishness; greed; coveting; that's what was in his heart. Isn't it interesting: the extravagant generosity of one person, exposed immediately how tight the other one was.

He should have just thought: wow, that's great. Man, I need to learn from that, and be inspired to be more generous. Instead of that, he had to attack the generosity, and say: that is a waste, it shouldn't be done.

You notice how the world continually attacks the church over the issue of tithing. Whether tithing is right or wrong is irrelevant. They attack it; because they can't handle that someone would give so much.

Why are you doing it? This is a poor person, why should they be doing this, and this, and this? Well, because it's actually an issue of the heart, and of generosity, and you're just flushing up your own meanness.

I remember when Brian Tamaki was interviewed, and they were going on about his car, and about his house and whatever. He said: I've worked all my life, I've invested, I've saved, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't gamble. Wouldn't I expect to have something for all of that? I've been generous and giving, wouldn't I expect to have something to show for all of that?

It was hard for them to concede. It's just that meanness, and selfishness, hates generosity. It reacts, and that's what this guy did. He just reacted in the presence of the generous giving; and the thing is: he was a thief, and he had the money box.

Here's the most amazing thing: he had the money box. Jesus gave him the money box. Did Jesus know he was a thief? Yes!

Why did He give him the money box then? To give him a chance to walk through temptation, and come out the other side victorious.

God will always place things in our path that will give us an opportunity to reveal what's in our heart; and He, with it, will never allow us to be tempted above what we're able; and will make a way for you through it.

So I can tell you now, every one of us face temptations around this area. It's just a matter of what we're showing up; and if we are faithful with money, we can be trusted with true riches.

Now the next thing you notice about it is that generosity is extremely extravagant. I did the math on this (I don't know whether I got them right). You notice it says: she gave oil of spikenard, worth three hundred denarii.

One denarius is a day's wage, so what would today's wage be worth in New Zealand? Maybe $100, something like that, so $100. So that means she gave 300 day's wages - almost a whole year's wages!