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Generosity (4 of 4)

Mike Connell

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Psalm 37:21. “The wicked borrows, and doesn't pay back; but the righteous show mercy and give.

You can actually tell a righteous person; not because they go to church, and carry a Bible, and pray long prayers, or speak in tongues. A righteous person actually does something else: shows mercy, and gives.

Matthew 25, when Jesus separates the nation out, in a day to come. “The king shall say to those on his right hand (He's gathered the nations together, sifted them out): Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, you gave Me to drink; I was a stranger, you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick, you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”

“The righteous will say: oh, when did we see You hungry, feed You; and thirsty, and give You drink? When did we see You stranger, and take You in; and naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick in prison, and come to You?”

“And He said: assuredly I say to you, as much as you did it to one of the least of My brethren, you did it to Me”. Notice the connection between being righteous, and being kind to the poor. They go hand in hand.

Would you consider the people of our city are: blessed; or are they really struggling? Not in the blessing of God; but from a spiritual perspective, extremely poor?

They are. The whole region is extremely poor. It shows up in a whole number of ways; but one of the things that God puts in us very clearly to see, is that if we are in right standing with Him, the way we express it… What does a right man live like? How does a righteous man live?

Now that I'm made right, by what Jesus did for me, and I'm trusting in it; now how will I live out that being right with God? What would it look like?

I'll go to prayer meetings? I'll go to Bible Study? I'll speak in tongues? Heaps of things are great; but the thing the Bible consistently says is: show mercy; and become generous to those who are in need.

It's something the church has forgotten, and yet needs to awaken to it; because this is something that's part of every one of us.

So when we look at the word righteous, we tend to think of just: ‘our standing with God’; but the Hebrew thinking is righteous means: ‘a lifestyle outworked’, because of my standing with God.

Wikipedia: the word for ‘Righteous’ (in the OT) is Tzedak; and the word generosity (or charity, or ‘giving to the poor’), is the word Tzedakah (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzedakah).

So the Hebrew word ‘to be right’, or ‘righteous’, or ‘right with God’ (in the OT) – ‘Tzedak’, and that means: to be right with God.

The word generous; giving to the poor; being charitable; being concerned (or having compassion), and demonstrating it to people in need - is the word Tzedakah; which means: ‘Righteousness Revealed’ is Generosity.

You can't separate the two from one another; so Hebrews considered that all our resources belong to God; and God has therefore the right to direct our resources. So when I think about the tithe, or the first portion of my finances, I always think: it doesn't really belong to me anyway, that’s God's.

There's another part of our finances which doesn't belong to us either. It's the part that needs to be given to people in need; and so we allocate and worked our finances, such that we have:

A first portion always set aside for the Lord; a portion for us; and a portion for people in need.