Rewards of Generosity
In the last three weeks we have learnt
- The Joy of generosity
- The power of generosity
- The highest form of sacrifice
Today we conclude this series with a self-evaluation and challenge from God on whether we have received transformation in our generosity attitude.
We have seen from the scriptures that over and over God has called us to be generous people.
- Firstly, we learnt that the start of this transformation is when we ACKNOWLEDGE that God owns everything including “OUR” possessions.
- Secondly, we learnt that the start of this transformation is when we see ourselves as God STEWARDS or managers whom God has entrusted with a portion of His riches.
- Thirdly, this transformation starts when we learn that it is a PRIVILEGE and an honor to take care of God’s property and use it in ways that please Him.
It is only a TRANSFORMED MIND that understands the importance of generosity and that SELFISHNESS does not pay.
Prov. 11:24 “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.”
God is not only interested in seeing the stewardship of our money or material possessions, but He expects us to be generous with our time and talents.
Jesus Christ is our perfect example in showing a passionate concern for others.
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
God Rewards Generosity
18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the large trees of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent. It was the hottest time of the day.
2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. He quickly left the entrance to his tent to meet them. He bowed low to the ground.
3He said, “My lord, if you are pleased with me, don’t pass me by. 4Let a little water be brought. All of you can wash your feet and rest under this tree.
5“Let me get you something to eat to give you strength. Then you can go on your way. I want to do this for you now that you have come to me.”
“All right,” they answered. “Go ahead and do it.”
6So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick!” he said. “Get about half a bushel of fine flour. Mix it and bake some bread.”
7Then he ran to the herd. He picked out a choice, tender calf. He gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8Then he brought some butter and milk and the calf that had been prepared. He served them to the three men.
While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
9“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.
“Over there, in the tent,” he said.
10Then the Lord said, “You can be sure that I will return to you about this time next year. Your wife Sarah will have a son.”
Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent behind him. 11Abraham and Sarah were already very old. Sarah was too old to have a baby. 12So she laughed to herself. She thought, “I’m worn out, and my husband is old. Can I really know the joy of having a baby?”
13Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Will I really have a baby, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too hard for me? I will return to you at the appointed time next year. Sarah will have a son.”
15Sarah was afraid. So she lied and said, “I didn’t laugh.”
But the Lord said, “Yes, you did.”
- God appeared to Abraham, but he did not know. (Vs 1)
- His generosity made him respond without hesitation and asked his wife Sarah to prepare a quick meal for the visitors.
- Abraham went out of his way to offer comfort to strangers without knowing who he was entertaining. He was eager to offer hospitality to them as was his nephew Lot in Gen 19:2-3 offered to the same angels
- He was not only a caring father to his family but offered hospitality to others.
- Abraham personally went into his heard and selected a “choice tender calf”. He did not ask whether there was left over food the previous night. He gave God the best from his herd.
The Lord said in Revelation 3:20 (RSV): “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
This scripture means, we will fellowship together, and we will have dinner together, but this is not simply private enjoyment, not just a social hour for our own pleasure. This is a picture of the Lord using us as an instrument to meet the need of those around, and, in so doing, we enter into fellowship with the heart of Christ.
When Christ comes in to us, He doesn’t come in merely to give us a good time, to bless us, and make it an enjoyable experience. He comes in to fulfill his long-standing desire to be what He came into the world to be — a Savior to seek and to save that which was lost, to give and show compassion to others, to minister to human needs whatever they may be, through us.
In Matthew 25 the Lord presents a scene of judgment (Verses 31-43). He will divide the nations into two groups. They all claim to be his but, as he sees the human heart, there are two divisions.
He says to the one group, Verse 41: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire.” And they are amazed and say, “Why do you say that to us, Lord?”And he says, “for I was hungry, and you gave me no food, I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me,”(Matthew 25:41-43 RSV).
Then to the others, he will say, Verse 34, “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,”(Matthew 25:34b RSV). And they are surprised too, and say, “Lord, what do you mean?”And he says,
“…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”(Matthew 25:35-36 RSV)
And they said, Verse 39: “And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?” You remember his words: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me,”(Matthew 25:40 RSV).
This is the test of our faith. James says:
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans andwidows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27 RSV)
“What I have today belongs to another. I am only a steward”. (Rev. Julius Wainaina)
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
- Sincere love requires concentration and effort, we must go beyond politeness and pretense. It involves helping others become better people. It demands our time, money and personal involvement
- Do not give honor with an ulterior motive-A boss so that you may be promoted, the wealthy so that they may contribute to your cause; As Christians we honor people because they are valuable and created in the image of God.
FIVE REWARDS TO GENEROSITY
- The suffering of the saints will be diminished or at least relieved. We will lift a burden from someone, contribute in relieving stress and create hope in people. That is a reward.
- The glory of God is displayed. Mathew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before me, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven”Your generosity in giving and open homes displays the glory and the goodness and worthy of God in your life.
- More thanksgiving to God is unleashed. Generosity is not only meeting people’s needs but also overflowing many thanks to God. 2 Cor 9:12 “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”Our generosity and hospitality make many people be thankful to God.
- Our love for God and His love for us is confirmed. 1 John 3 :17-18 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”.When we give generously, the love of God is confirmed in our lives.
- Finally, We lay up treasure in heaven. Luke 12 :33-34 “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourself that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Generosity and open heart is close to the center of life in Christ. The reasons we don’t open our checkbooks and homes as often as we should are rooted in the bondage of FEARand GREED. The remedy is the pleasure of Christ’s PRESENCEand the CERTAINTYof Christ’s PROMISE:
Paul considered the gifts he received from the Philippians as a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And he made this promise which I declare to you today. “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:19
Rev. Julius Wainaina