Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Gospel of Jesus revolves around generosity (part 2)

Jesus spoke a lot about money while he lived here on Earth. According to Reverend Bob Sheldon, the former Director of Funds Development of the Synod of the Rocky Mountains, Jesus continued Biblical tradition about money and possessions:
  1. One of every seven verses in the first three gospels spoke on money.
  2. About one-third (16 of 38) parables are on money.
  3. 15% of everything Jesus said was about money.
  4. He spoke on money twice as much as prayer and faith combined.
  5. The Kingdom of God is the only subject that Jesus gave more attention than money.
  6. If we translate the amount of teaching Jesus did on money to our churches, pastors would preach 17 stewardship sermons per year!
The Generosity Gospel According to Jesus

Here are some examples of Jesus' own words from the gospels on the topic of generosity:
  1. Matthew 5:42 - Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. Application: If someone is in need, give to them.
  2. Matthew 6:2-3 - So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Application: Don't give to others for selfish, earthly reward.
  3. Matthew 10:42 - And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. Takeaway: We earn heavenly rewards for even simple acts of kindness and generosity.
  4. Matthew 19:21 - If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. Application: Giving leads to treasure in heaven and is a part of following Jesus.
  5. Matthew 23:23 - Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices - mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law - justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Application: Giving should be coupled with other important distinctives such as those given above.
  6. Matthew 25:34-36, 40 - Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me..." The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Application: Giving back to those in need not only helps others, but it is as if we did it for the Lord.
  7. Mark 10:45 - For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Application: Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of service and giving. He gave His very life for us!
  8. Mark 12:17 - Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." Application: There is a level of personal responsibility involved in giving back to God.
  9. Luke 6:38 - Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Application: When we give generously, God will give us even more to give back.
  10. Luke 12:33 - Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. Application: Giving to the poor lays up eternal treasure in heaven.
  11. Luke 19:8 - But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." Application: An encounter with Jesus should lead to extreme generosity.
Where are you at in living a life of generosity?

1 comment:

  1. I loved your choices of scripture verses. As I was reading it I kept thinking "Jesus preached things like generosity and stewardship so often. If he was so passionate about them, there must be a good reason."

    It's so true too. I don't think its too much to ask for us to be faithful to God by being generous.