“BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO GIVE” By Pastor YAU
Text: 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 November 7, 2010.
1) It started as a game: When the Los Angeles Times covered a 2008 conference championship soccer match between two Christian schools, Azusa Pacific University and Westmont College, it was about far more than winning a game. Three days before the game day, a destructive wildfire swept through the Westmont campus rendered the college unable to host the game. The rules required Westmont to forfeit the game. Instead Azusa invited their opponents to play at their campus and welcome the Westmont fans with free admission and lunch.
2) It ended more than a game: Westmont won an emotional 2-0 victory, but Azusa Pacific won admiration for the good will. LA Times reporter Bill Plaschke wrote: “Rarely in Southern California sports has there been a better show of sportsmanship than this. Azusa Pacific sacrificing its chance at a title defense to give Westmont a fair shot at taking it. As impressive as the resilience of the conquerors was the kindness of the conquered.”
CHRISTIAN FAITH AND GIVING:
1) God is all about giving: From the very beginning of time, God is all about giving. He gave us everything in the universe through creation. He gave life and love to the first couple, Adam and Eve. He gave laws and guidelines for men to live a contributive and meaningful life, and He gave us the Savior so mankind may be saved through his sacrificial death. God continues to give us grace and mercy everyday to sustain our life, our family and our nation. God gives us the Holy Spirit to inspire our hearts so we will follow God’s ways of life. No one may count all that God has given and is giving to us each day.
2) God has given His best: Above all that God has given, the best is giving us His only Son, Jesus Christ. The giving of God’s Son is the most important gift God can give to us because it is the most beloved person to His heart. God has given human race something no one else has ever given that is the gift of an atonement to pay the price of all the sins of men. In this gift all men have the hope of salvation by the grace of God.
3) God calls on us to give: Throughout history, God has called on His people to give. He called the Israelis to give to the aliens, the defenseless and the weak. He called the rich to give to the poor and He rewarded those who did. God calls on us to give to our family, our neighbors, our community and our government. God also calls us to give back to Him in tithes and offerings as a means to express our gratitude and thanksgiving. In today’s text, God calls on us to give because it pleases His heart to see that we are a people of gratitude.
4) God’s people has responded: In the past 2,000 years of Christian history, God’s people has responded to His call to give and have given in many ways much more than other religions in human history. Christians give to education, healing, social needs to the poor, the underclass, the illiterates, the sick, the hopeless and the oppressed. Many have even given their lives such as the missionaries in Afghanistan last July this year. Generous giving has been a trademark of Christian faith throughout the history in every part of the world.
BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES ON GIVING: (2 Corinthians 9:6-9)
1) Giving is receiving: “Remember this: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. Whoever sows generously will reap generously.” (9:6) This is a quotation from Proverbs 11:24 which shows us that giving is never a losing business and being stingy in giving is never a way to get rich. One of the main reasons people may be stingy in giving is the twisted belief that when we give, we have less. The Bible promises generous givers that giving is a winning business, like investment, the more you give, the more you will receive. No investing, no returns. No giving, no receiving.
2) Giving is a great joy: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.” (9:7) Christian giving is on top and beyond the laws of the Old Testament required. We give because we love to, not because the law requires us to. Just as we give gifts to our loved ones because of love and gratitude, not because of law that we have to. Either we give to God, His church, to charity and to people, we give with joy in the heart because we are able to give than unable to give. In encouraging Christians to give generously, Paul said: Remembering the words the Lord Jesus Christ said: It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
3) Giving, a channel of blessing: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things in all times, having all that you need.” (9:8) In encouraging his audience to give, Jesus said, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, press down, shaken up and running over, will be poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38) God promises to replenish generously for what we give so we will be able to receive more blessings.
4) Giving with lasting value: “As it is written: He has scattered abroad his gift to the poor, and his righteousness endures forever.” (9:9) In quoting Psalms 112:9, Paul told his readers, the early Christians that there were different values in giving. If we give in leading people to Christ, in building His Kingdom, in glorifying God, all gifts will have lasting value. In this world, some people give for their own glory, others give for political and social purposes that will never last more than a few years. We are to give to God for souls and that will last forever.
WHAT CAN WE GIVE? Suggestions in order of priority.
1) Give our hearts: Many in this world may think that this is either too naive, risky or out right stupid. But that is the first gift we should give both to God and people. It is from our hearts, love can touch people’s life in a lasting way. Any gift without love has little value and meaning. It is risky and even stupid to give our hearts because it may hurt us at the end. But all gifts must be given because we love to touch other.
2) Give our time: Time, in essence, is life. Our life is measured by time, number of days, months and years. When we truly love someone, we need to be willing to spend time with him/her. You may not have to say or do anything for that someone, just be there with him/her is all you need to do.
3) Give service: No one is all capable of everything. We all need someone to make our life easier or a job better. If God place someone in the path of your life that is where you need to serve his/her needs whatever it may be. The Good Samaritan story is the best example we can and need to follow.
4) Give resource: This includes all kind of material resources. I put this at the last point not because it is the least important but because it is a natural outcome if we have given in the above 3 areas. When someone will give his heart, time and service, resources must be included already.
1) Giving is opportunity: One of the skills of a successful life is the ability to detect and make use of opportunities. Giving is one of more important opportunities each life may have: opportunity of needs, opportunity of ability to give and to share. In our journey of life, when God brings us opportunity to give and share and we stop short, we will regret for not using those opportunities to do what God wants us to do.
2) Giving is a blessing: As quoted by Paul the words of the Lord: “it is far better to give than to receive”, the truth is everyone wants to be in position of being able to give rather than being in the position of need to receive. It is a great blessing to give than have the needs to receive. So, if you are blessed to be in position of giving, don’t forfeit your blessing by not giving.
3) Giving for your soul: That is giving your life to God, ask Him to forgive your sins and to come into your life as your Lord and Savior. It is the most important give you must do for your soul.