I spent two Sunday recently on the issue of Worship and Generosity. Specifically, I made the point that worship of God necessarily drives generosity, with time, talent, and money. The second Sunday was very practical. I went over a lot of questions and a lot of details, and I mentioned I would provide my notes. So, here you go.
a. Where does the tithe come from? (no NT commands)
i. Gen 14.17ff first occurrence.
ii. Context of worship: first fruits, holy – who is the Creator and who gets glory?
iii. Practical – sustains priesthood and temple ministry.
iv. Keeps idolatry suppressed.
b. Where does our tithe go? Local church vs. para church? – Pharisees question!
i. Be driven by a theology of the local church, but know God is at work in extension of the LC and be generous!
ii. If you are so wealthy that your tithe would float most or all of a budget, then definitely give a lot to cross kingdom
c. Pre or post tax? Pharisees question – be generous!
d. Do I tithe off capital gains, gifts, inheritance? Pharisee!
e. What about a spouse who is not a believer and doesn’t agree about giving?
i. Pray that the gospel would transform them.
ii. Don’t make this about BC but about your love for God and what drives your desire to be generous – the generous gospel!
iii. Gently and graciously ask them to support you in giving something, in light of your deepest heart convictions. Ask them to love you by allowing you to give. And, they can definitely talk to our leadershi about many of the things we are doing that I think they can agree with in terms of cultural renewal and loving our city – so maybe giving directed toward special projects.
iv. Give your time and talent…and then honor your spouse if they are insistent. Trust God.
f. Do I need to be a member to give?
i. No (but you should be a member!).
g. Will giving make me more financially stable?
i. Not necessarily. God might bless you so you can bless more. But the point is spiritual wealth. ILL – the widow’s mite – she may have died poor but she was rich in soul.
h. What if I am unemployed and in dire straights financially?
i. You should receive the generosity of the church.
ii. Where can you be generous? Time and talent!
iii. Get the help you need to get things in order: Crown, budget principles, etc. set yourself back up, so you can be generous financially again.
iv. Give something, even the smallest amount, as an act of faith and worship. God doesn’t care about the amount, but even a mite does create worship in your heart.
v. Principle: be generous with what you have! It sets you up for future generosity.
1. Luke 12:48 – But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
2. Luke 16:10 – One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
i. What if I am a student and make no money?
i. If your parents give you 20K to go to school, put it all toward school.
ii. Be generous! Time, talent.
iii. God always gives something to us to give, so give what you can.
j. What if I have never really done this? How do I start?
i. Start – even if $5 a month.
ii. Address lifestyle issues, so generosity can be put at the top of the chart.
k. What about my children? Schooling, sports, opportunities for them.
i. They are God’s! He cares for them infinitely more than you!
ii. They are part of your stewardship, too, for sure.
iii. But, you are training them to be generous and to sacrifice to be generous. Talk with them about it, about your family’s priorities.
iv. In a tough decision: look at Scripture, pray, seek godly counsel.
v. APP – if our financial generosity convictions ever come up against private Christian school, PCS loses. That is icing on the cake. Total luxury. My children watching us give that up is better for their souls. Also, we could be saving a lot more for college and providing other things for them…but again, we are called to trust God with what is left after generosity and taxes. That is his perfect remainder for us.
vi. Do we trust God with our most precious stewardships?
l. I want my children to love generosity. How do I teach them?
i. Start as early as they have a concept of ownership and giving important things away.
ii. Give them money to give away.
iii. Live it in front of them and invite them to participate in your giving.
a. Cultivate a generous lifestyle.
i. APP – tip well, pay for meals, hospitality, let people borrow your stuff, try and say yes when asked to serve, have readiness for ad hoc needs. IE – embody the gospel! This is evangelism, you know!
b. The “man, I really have all my eggs in one basket” test OR “if the gospel is not true, I’ve wasted my life” test.
c. Joy in the gospel!
i. EXPL – bottom line: do you believe what you believe about what Jesus has done for you by dying on the cross for your sins? That is generosity. That drives your generosity.