Don't confuse giving with the spirit of generosity!Generosity is not about what you give away…it's about what has been given to you. Generosity
This message is about generosity, which is less about your wallet and more about your heart. Something altogether different.
So please don't confuse this message with tithing, fiscal responsibility, stewardship, or even giving to missions. For some, of course, there is a clear correlation between your generosity and your giving…but for many of us…the only real thing these two have in common is that both words start with the letter 'G'.
Generosity, fundamentally, is NOT about what you give away…it's about what has been given to you!
Money is something you have. Generosity is a spiritual disposition. Giving is something you do. Generosity describes who you are. True generosity flows from a fresh revelation of who God is and what He has given us. Greed
Greed is the opposite of generosity…and people, for the most part, are pretty greedy. Andy Stanley refers to this as one of the 'enemies of the heart'. We are not born generous. We are born greedy and selfish…born as takers, not givers. Becoming generous is a learned attribute. Taught to us by the very nature of God. Spirit of Mammon
The bible refers to the rule of mammon in Matt 6:24. It says we can't serve both God and mammon.
Mammon is not "money" per se, but rather the spirit that sits behind money, power, control, identity, greed, self-sufficiency, pride and entitlement. Mammon seeks to replace God! Our world is gripped by the spirit of mammon, when we want to be ruled by the spirit of God - which is a generous spirit. Examples of Greed
We see lots of examples of greed in everyday life.
• Australia ranks now only 6th in the world according to the World Giving Index, which measures whether people have volunteered in the past month, whether they have donated to charity and whether they have helped a stranger. (we used to be ranked 1st…along with the US. Myanmar is ranked higher than Australia, and we are supposed to be the "lucky" country.)
• Australians give $450 on average in tax-deductible donations, which is about half a percent of the median household income ($80,704)
• We have heard recently through the Royal Commission that dishonest banks give people mortgages/loans that the banks know they cannot afford just so the bank can make money.
• What about the person who takes all of the biscuits in the house for himself, not sharing even though he know others will want some.
• A person at work who takes credit for the hard work of others and who takes a larger share of the bonus money, even if he didn't actually do anything to earn it.
• An employee who takes lavish vacations at the expense of his employer by claiming that the vacations are business trips, even when they really aren't. Luke 12:15 warns: “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
In the broad sense of the word, we are not really modelling a generous society. We don't really have a generous spirit. Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
Jesus was talking with his disciples, and Peter asked how often should I forgive a brother who sins against me. 7 times? And Jesus replied, "Hardly, try 70 times 7!" And with that, Jesus tells a story, after which he makes a profound point in Matthew 18:23-35. Most expositors underscore the importance of 'forgiveness' when they read this parable. And they are right to do so. This is even the truth Jesus makes sure none of us miss.
We should be the most generous person alive because of what God’s done for us. Quick lessons on generosity
2 Cor 9 - all 15 verses - is a power chapter. Packed with so much depth, richness and truth around the generous spirit. From these scriptures we can identify 5 attributes of the spirit of the generosity: 1. A generous spirit is quick to forgive
- it doesn't judge, condemn or carry unforgiveness. Just like in the parable of the "unforgiving servant". Humility recognises we have been forgiven a greater debt than any man may owe us.Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 2. A generous spirit loves to give
- it's part of its godly nature. Selfishness can attack before you give…and regret can attack after you give. Gratitude is an attribute of the Spirit that sustains you throughout your giving. 2 Cor 9:7 “God loves a cheerful giver” 3. A generous spirit doesn't compare with others what they give
- their benchmark or yardstick for giving is not what others do, but rather what Christ did for you. What did you receive? Life! An indescribable gift. So don't worry what anyone else gives.
Until your giving matches what Christ has done for us, you have no need to compare anything. And good luck trying to outgive god! 4. A generous spirit doesn't give to receive
- it gives because it is grateful for what it has received. We don't give to get…we get to give! 5. A generous spirit always receives more in return than it gives
…but it’s the reward, not the motivation. God will get it to you, if He knows He can get it through you. 2 Cor 9:6-7 Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop.
We don’t just reap what we sow, we reap more than what we sow. Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
And rather than just give from time to time, we should step into a godly spirit of generosity that recognises all we have are is because of Him. So we should want to give freely, cheerfully and even extravagantly…bearing Christ's name when we do!Discussion Questions
1. Do you relate to the unforgiving servant in the parable Jesus tells in Matthew 18:23-35?
2. What forms of greed are you susceptible to?
3. Did you now you can give and not be generous? Can you think of times where you have given out of obligation rather than cheerfully?
4. How is God challenging you to be generous, like He is generous? Can you be specific? It may relate to your time, energy, money, obedience, sacrifice and service.