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Giving has always been a discipline for me - 10% of what I make, before taxes (first fruits). Someone told me to do it this way in high school, and so I did. I think this is great, but then I got married, and giving became a conversation rather than my own decision. I married an incredibly generous woman, and so when I came into giving with my disciplined approach, she asked where my heart was. It was something I haven't thought much about, but since then, it has become a major theme in my life.
2 Corinthians 9:7 - "Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
Jesus was always concerned about the heart of His listeners, and so that should always be our focus for everything, but especially when it comes to money, which really exposes the state of men's hearts.
Luke 6:43-45 - “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."
- Trusting God with money can create peace in a place where it shouldn't be peaceful (financial hardships, etc.)
- Generosity/ giving is the most talked about value in the bible (more than faith, hope & love)
- Giving is the expression of these three values
- Seven benefits of generosity:
- Generosity makes me more like God
- "God so loved that he gave..."
- You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving.
- "Who are we that we could give you anything. It's all yours" - King David to God (that's a paraphrase, but I can't find the exact verse)
- Anything I have has been given by God
- Generosity draws me closer to God
- Matthew 6:21 - "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
- Hearts follow treasure.
- How do you get a heart for God? Where is your treasure?
- Generosity breaks selfishness in my life
- The more you have to live for, the less you need to live on.
- Giving is counter-cultural
- 1 Timothy 6:17-19 - "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
- Generosity strengthens my faith
- 2 Corinthians 9:12 - Giving proves the reality of your faith.
- Giving out of guilt or pressure won't sustain
- Some people trust God with their eternal destiny, but not their money
- Generosity is an investment for eternity
- How? - 1 Timothy 6:19 - "...it's the only safe investment for eternity..."
- Generosity blesses me in return
- Proverbs 22:9 - Generous people are blessed
- Generosity makes me happy