April 12th – 16th, 2018
Dr. Allen Roberts, Pastor
Euclid Avenue Baptist Church
With regard to the least favorite subjects among “good ol’ Southern Baptists,” I would rank the top three of such a list as follows: 1) gluttony, 2) fasting, and 3) giving \ money. The good news with respect to this particular devotion is that it has nothing to do with the first two subjects I just mentioned! So, go ahead and eat a big bowl of ice cream while you read about God’s perspective, purpose and promises concerning the grace of giving, and be blessed!
All kidding aside, the grace of giving should be more than a serious subject to us as followers of Christ. The grace of giving should evoke great joy and expectation within our hearts as we contemplate the many ways in which God invites us to get involved with His kingdom work and purposes. So, let’s get right to it and examine these three aspects related to the grace of giving.
First, there is God’s perspective of the grace of giving. Let’s take a look at five specific passages of Scripture which reflect the Lord’s perspective of the giving of our financial resources and assets.
- 2 Corinthians 8:5— the grace of giving begins when we first give ourselves to the Lord!
- Acts 20:35— The Apostle Paul credits the words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” to Jesus Himself. He intends for the grace of giving to be a blessing to His followers, not some unnecessary, “kill joy” act of drudgery!
- 2 Corinthians 9:6 – 7— Paul declares in this text that “God loves a cheerful giver” (v.7). We are to give out of the motivation of remembering that God first loved us, that we are to glorify Him in the use of the financial resources and possessions entrusted to us, and, that God desires for us to be involved in what He is doing as He fulfills His kingdom purposes on earth.
- Luke 16:10 – 13— God expects us to be faithful stewards of all that He has entrusted to us in this life, whether we seemingly possess much or little. The reason for this is so that He can entrust to us even greater riches in eternity! Big dreams become a reality through a process of first being faithful in the smaller responsibilities.
- Mark 12:41 – 44— The poor widow’s gift of two mites to the Temple treasury seemed to be utterly unimpressive at best, and nothing more than an unnecessary nuisance at the worst. Her gift was monetarily worth only 1 \ 128th the value of a denarius, which, in that culture was the wage for one day of work.
However, Jesus took note not only of what she gave, but the perspective she possessed that motivated her giving. Her giving demonstrated the conviction and the truth that not only does everything one possesses comes from God, but everything belongs to Him as well.
Those specific passages just mentioned give us a clear glimpse into understanding God’s perspective of the grace of giving. What perspective of the grace of giving do you live by?
Second, let us consider God’s purpose regarding the grace of giving. I want to draw your attention to two passages of Scripture which depict God’s purposes in giving, and two other passages which will hopefully illustrate these purposes.
- Matthew 6:19 – 21— One purpose of grace giving involves God’s desire for us to invest in the things of heaven; the things of eternity. Jesus says in this text to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (v.20). Let us be diligent and faithful to place not only our hope, but our financial resources and possessions, in the Person, the purposes, and the promises of God rather than in the temporary things of this world.
Jesus’ parable of “the rich fool” found in Luke 12:16 – 21 illustrates to us the foolishness of investing, or trusting, in the things of this earth, rather than the things of eternity. God’s desire for you and me is that we would be found to be rich towards Him forever!
Randy Alcorn is the author of a book entitled, Money, Possessions, and Eternity. In it he addresses the passage of Matthew 6:19 – 21. Take some time to meditate on his personal reflection of this passage:
Christ’s words in Matthew 6:21 were direct and profound. He said that what we do with our possessions is a sure indicator of what’s in our hearts… What we do with our money doesn’t lie. It is a bold statement to God of what we truly value. What we do with our money doesn’t simply indicate where our heart is. According to Jesus, what we do with our money determines where our heart goes.
…As surely as the compass needle follows north, your heart will follow your treasure. Money leads; hearts follow (p.101).
Where are your money and possessions leading you?
- 1 Timothy 6:17 – 19— This text echoes the truth of the previous passage of Matthew 6:19 – 21. Paul’s word to Timothy reminds us as well that those who do possess financial wealth are exhorted to place their trust exclusively “in the living God,” rather than placing confidence in the “uncertain riches” of this life (v.17). The Lord desires that we be a people who willingly, eagerly make eternal investments in God’s kingdom work so that we would “be rich in good works,… storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (vv.18 – 19).
The parable of the talents Jesus taught in Matthew 25:14 – 30 illustrates the kind of stewardship the Lord desires for us to practice with regard to the riches and possessions He has entrusted to us in this life. We are to diligently and wisely seek to take all that God has given us and invest it for His glory, and the sake of the Gospel, as we await the soon return of the Son of God!
A man by the name of J. H. Pickford is credited with making the following statement:
“This is an ageless principle in the economy of God. What we withhold, withers, but what we scatter, gathers; what we lay aside, spoils; but what we release, returns. If we fill full another’s needs, God will fill full our needs.”
What kind of investments are you currently making with the riches and possessions that God has entrusted to you: eternal investments which will endure and live long past this life and this world? or, fleeting investments that will quickly fade away with your death? More importantly, are you now willing to embrace and pursue God’s purpose regarding the grace of giving?
Then, third, we need to look to God’s promises concerning the grace of giving. In closing, let’s examine two more passages from the writings of the Apostle Paul.
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 – 11— David Jeremiah teaches that this text illustrates God’s circle of grace. That is, the Lord gives seed to the sowers, and as they give to provide for the needs of the saints, He enriches both the sowers and the recipients beyond what was sown. In the kingdom of God, grace given is grace multiplied (cf. Proverbs 11:24 – 25). He goes on to say that, as Christians, we can rest in the grace that multiplies resources and opportunities so that in all things we have all they need. Because, in God’s economy, He has promised that those who trust Him with the investment of their resources will always reap more than they sow (David Jeremiah Study Bible, “Notes on 2 Corinthians,” p.1611).
- Philippians 4:19 – 20— Verse 19, in particular, speaks to the promise of God’s faithful provision to supply all the needs of His people. Allow me to mention briefly four precepts we would do well to meditate upon, take to heart, and live by.
1) The source of such supply (v.19a)— “And my God…”
This makes our need deeply personal to our God and Savior.
2) The surety of such supply (v.19b)— “shall”
We have no need to fear. God cannot, and will not, fail because of who He is. Let us sing with David in Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”
3) The sufficiency of such supply (v.19c)— “supply all your need”
God has promised not to supply all of our greed, but rather, all of our need.
4) The standard of such supply (v.19d)— “according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
God’s riches are eternal. God’s riches are enabling. God’s riches are enough.
Church, when God’s work is done by God’s people in God’s way for God’s glory, neither the work nor the people will lack for God’s supply! Are you and I willing to take “our step forward” by resting in God’s promises concerning the grace of giving?
Scripture passages for reading and meditation:
- 2 Corinthians 8:5 \ Acts 20:35 \ 2 Corinthians 9:6 – 7 \ Luke 16:10 – 13
- Matthew 6:19 – 21 \ 1 Timothy 6:17 – 19
- Mark 12:41 – 44 \ Luke 12:16 – 21 \ Matthew 25:14 – 30
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 – 11 \ Philippians 4:19 – 20