Thursday, December 1, 2016

EmmDev 2016-12-01 [Treasure in Clay Pots (2Cor)] Generosity (7): Seeing it differently.

Generosity (7): Seeing it differently.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.      (2Corinthians9:6-7)
There is a little cartoon that I enjoy: It's a family of three shaking hands with the minister at the door. The baby and the husband have tear-stained faces. The wife says: "I'm sorry about my baby crying pastor - he's teething." "I understand," replies the pastor, "but why is your husband also crying?" "Oh" she replies, "He's tithing."

For many of people, being generous is hard. They see generosity as sacrificing their time, talent and treasure. They see their income as something that has been hard-earned, their time as an exclusive commodity and only want to use their talents if there is adequate recognition.

But Paul doesn't see our possessions, opportunities and abilities as finite commodities to be hung on to - he sees them as seeds. When a seed is put into the ground, watered and kept weed-free it produces a plant that produces more seed - and so there is multiplication.

Now while we don't buy into the claims of the so-called "prosperity gospel" that implies that the blessing for financial generosity is financial prosperity, we cannot ignore the clear indications from Scripture that the attitude of generosity bears good fruit. The good fruit can take many forms: undeserved good health, amazing opportunities, strength in weakness, love in families, the blessings of simplicity and the reward of seeing the our seed grow in the lives of others.

God loves the cheerful giver.

If tithing is like teething to us then we are missing the point.

A cheerful giver realises that:
- everything they have comes from God
- God is good and there are many good things in our lives
- we have much that we can offer to serve God and others

It's not only treasure, it's our time, and it's our talent.
But we can give away all three with a bad attitude... Then our heart's soil is dry and weedy and very little good will grow.

But if we recognise that time, talent and treasure aren't actually ours, that seed is best put in the ground rather than hoarded and that great good can come from generous cheerful hearts, then great blessing awaits.

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