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Generosity (3 of 4)

Mike Connell

Page 6 of 10
You can never out give God - He is so generous. It's the nature of the kingdom to be giving. The problem is: we get caught up with this thing of the law - if I just do this, then God must do that. So if I just do this, God will do that.

I did this; and He didn't do it - what! He didn't do it? Why did He not come through for me? I sowed, I gave, I did this, I did that - God didn't come through for me. Why?

You get angry at God, and resentful, and all that kind of stuff. I want to show you this is not the spirit of giving that the Bible talks about. Let's just go through and look at one more, in John 12:1.

Firstly, notice the motivation for gratitude. Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had been dead. Her brother was dead, not only dead, he was dead-dead. He was buried, and in the grave four days, and they said: he will be stinking by now, totally corrupted.

All hope of anything is gone, and Jesus came, and raised him from the dead. Now she's been without her brother, in mourning for four days; and suddenly her brother's restored. Whoa Jesus! My whole perspective has shifted.

So what can I do? Aah, that alabaster box, I'll take that, and she extravagantly gave. Why did she give? Gratitude! No one told her to do that.

If you were there, we'd tell her: take a tenth of it and give it to Him. Come on now, this is about gratitude; this about someone who has been blessed by God, and is responding to being blessed - by living and acting as a blessed person. That's what it's about.

See, we get the thing: if I do this, God will bless me. Let me ask where you get that theology from? Where did you get to hear that? It's the law. The law says: if I just do this, then God will do that.

Ephesians 1 it says: “God has already blessed us, with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places”. I'm not required to perform or do anything to get God's blessing.

I am required, though, to believe; and in believing, my faith will be expressed through actions; otherwise you move out of a place of faith and trust in God, and into a place of trying to manipulate Him: I'll do this, and you've got to do that; I'll give you this, and you've got to give me that…this is not going to work. She was full of gratitude.

Notice in 2 Corinthians 9:5, it talks about giving and He says: “now brethren, I thought to exhort you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity, and not grudging obligation”.

He's saying: sort out your giving before I come. I don't want there to be any pressure and grudging obligation.

He says: “I tell you this: who sows sparingly, will reap sparingly; he who sows bountifully, will reap bountifully. Let anyone give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or reluctantly” - or with his hand bent up his back, it means.

God loves you to give out of a cheerful, glad and grateful heart. He wants us to give that way.

God is able to make all grace abound to you, because this is the nature of grace. It just gives, because that's what it is, “…and having all sufficiency in all things, you may have abundance for every good work”.

So God makes it very clear, that the motivation of all our giving needs to be generosity and gratitude: I love God; I want to give; what can I give?

Many people come to church on Sunday thinking: what can we get out of this service? Get out of the service? Oh, you're already beaten before you start - because you're coming to get.

I come every Sunday to give. I come to give God something; oh, I love to give to Him, and worship Him, and give myself to Him; and I get blessed by this wonderful worship team we have, they can lead and bring us into the presence of God; and sometimes I think: I'd just like to stay there. I know people want a message, but might as well stay loving God, I'm enjoying this. It's giving something to God.

The last thing is: generosity is rewarded. God will always reward you if you're a generous person; but it's not the motivation for giving.