GIVING TO THE WORK OF GOD
“Three times a year you are to celebrate a festival to me. “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread; for seven days eat bread made without yeast, as I commanded you. Do this at the appointed time in the month of Aviv, for in that month you came out of Egypt. “No one is to appear before me empty-handed. “Celebrate the Festival of Harvest with the first fruits of the crops you sow in your field. “Celebrate the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field. “Three times a year all the men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord. – Exodus 23:14-17.
Part of our calling us disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ is our persistent worship of Him. Let us therefore devote ourselves with pleasure to the service of the Lord. That portion of our time which He requires, and count His “sabbaths” and ordinances to be a feast for our souls. The Lord tells us today as He told the children of Israel that they were not to come before His presence empty-handed. In that respect we too must not come to God empty-hearted. On the contrary our souls must be filled with holy desires before Him, and dedications of ourselves to Him; because these are the sacrifices God finds most pleasing.
Today, I would like us to consider one of the portions of scripture that talks about giving.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “He has scattered abroad His gifts to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.”
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
1. There is no compulsion to Christian giving. We can give generously or we can be mean fisted and give only the minimum. Our reward from God is always commensurate with our giving. Let us remember that God does not expect us to give what we do not have. Christians can give either generously or sparingly, and God will reward them accordingly. To Paul, giving is not a loss, but a form of saving which results in great benefits for the giver. He is not speaking primarily of the quantity given, but of the quality of our hearts’ desires and motives.
The poor widow in Jesus’ comment in Luke 21:1-4, gave little, but God considered it much because of the proportion she gave and because of her complete dedication. Jesus gives a lesson on how God evaluates giving. A person’s gift is determined not by the amount he or she gives, but by the amount of sacrifice involved in the giving. The rich, at times, give only out of their wealth – making no real sacrifice. The widow’s gift cost her everything. She gave as much as she possibly could. This principle can be applied to all our service for Jesus. He judges our work and ministry not by its size or influence or success, but by the amount of sincere dedication, sacrifice, faith and love involved.
2. In a culture obsessed with materialism and convenience, it is not always easy to make personal sacrifices. But that which is convenient is not really a sacrifice and probably requires little effort or generosity. Don’t let a lack of faith keep you from giving cheerfully and generously. God wants people to sow His generosity by gladly giving time and money, particularly so that others can do and receive ministry. True generosity means giving with no selfish expectations.
3. In order for us to express true generosity outwardly, our hearts must become rich in true love and compassion for others. We should always pray and ask God to give us this kind of heart for others. Giving of ourselves and our possessions results in:
a) Supplying the needs of those of us who are lacking in some way
b) Praise and thanksgiving to God
c) Love from those who receive our help
To conclude, permit me to quote from Oswald Chambers who wrote in “My Utmost for His Highest”
“Our work begins where God’s grace has laid the foundation; we are not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace; our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are completely yielded and surrendered to God. One life wholly yielded to God is of more value to God than 100 lives simply awakened by His Spirit. God brings us to a standard of life by His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that standard in others.”
The great missionary to China, Hudosn Taylor, said, “The Great Commission is not an option to be considered; it is a command to be obeyed.”
David Livingstone, who spent his life as a medical missionary and explorer of Africa, said, “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” Jesus has given each of His disciples the honor of helping to fulfill the Great Commission.
Hymn: MHB 400 – TAKE MY LIFE, AND LET IT BE
1 Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
2 Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee,
3 Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee,
4 Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
5 Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
6 Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee.
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