How do we Increase Giving in the Church?

 giving c

Mark 12:41-44; Acts 2:44-45; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7

Simply put, from over twenty years of research and practice in this subject and a Ph.D., in it, it all comes down to two words, maturity and gratitude. The ones who give are going in their faith. Growing mature in the precepts of God’s Word and the practice of a real living faith. The ones who do not are not. The precursor of this and comes from this is a realization of the magnitude of how much we have been forgiven by our Lord, so we feel indebted, and thankful. Mature and thankful Christians, as in real followers of Christ, will realize they are stewards of God’s resources and will give back. While, immature believers, those who want to have only their needs met and their ears tickled, will be selfish and thus stingy.

Thus, the role the church leadership needs to go back to the basic call of our Lord, make disciples, feed the flock!

Once we form a more mature faith, and develop a strong sense of gratitude for the grace flowing in us, what should we do about our stewardship? How can we best respond with the goods given to our care? How much do we keep for ourselves, how much do we give away; how much is for us to play with, and how much goes to the work of the church? There are no concrete answers here; it is a call and a response of our heart and faith. We are given the general parameters from Scripture; it is up to us to figure out how to apply them. And it is the job of the pastor to preach the Word, set the example and allow the Holy Spirit to convict. Yet, this is hard for most, even me, and the source for most debates are nothing new. This subject is now, and has been very controversial. It has been a bitter debate since the formation of the early church, perhaps because most people like to do things their own way and do not like the real true Truth of the Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Thus, relinquishing control, especially with their pocketbook is muted from the desires of the flesh. So, we can see all kinds of crazy teachings from every conceivable perspective. But what we need to do is see what God’s Word says, pray, and go from there.

God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves and refuse to give back.

Especially when, what we are called to be using His resources to model and promote the Word of Christ and the service of those around us and the world. Too many Christians have bought into the consumer-driven culture and the megalomaniac and prideful pastors who lead so many astray. Such atrocious rebels of God call and Word, seemed to be blessed. But in fact, their reward is worldly and not eternal. And the ‘blesser’ is not the God of the Bible. And the sums of money they received was supposed to go to outreach and missions, doing as Christ called in the Gospels, helping the poor, not helping the rich. Thus, the spire away from maturity continues to fall. The Christian community has become greedy for selfish reasons and too selfish to give. While insisting that only their needs be met, unconcerned with what are the real need for the community and the call we all have. Then the local church with good pastors suffers from this, as their people tend to sit back and do little and give little.

To turn this around will take revival, that begins with real prayer and the teaching of the Word and the silencing of the nonsense that is out there in the pulpit and the weak Christian’s heart.

To begin, the church leadership starts with a recommitment to the faith. To surrender to Christ’s Lordship and publicly repent. Now they have maturity and gratitude. Then, form the vision and follow through to know our Lord and teach His precepts wholeheartedly, Who is Christ and what He has done. And also have seminars on family budgeting and money management. So, the people have the maturity and gratitude and are in the know. Then, teach and model the joy of giving and what stewardship is about. Then, model it regularly by all the church leaders and have testimonies about giving sacrificially and transformed lives. Then, teach how to give. Then, after the previous steps are made, ask people to give, who are now growing in the faith. Now you have a church where there is ample giving and one that is willing and able to roll on its call.

 

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A lack of Generosity is a lack of Faith and Obedience!

Generosity faith

 Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”  Luke 7:41-42

Read Luke 7:36-50

God is generous with His grace, so we should be generous toward each other and be thankful. And finally to refuse to see His goodness and turn from sin, is the ultimate contempt to our loving Lord!

Generosity as a Scriptural definition, refers to giving without expectations in return. 

This attitude of Generosity produces our character allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is the wise view and use of stewardship that all possessions belong to God. We are merely the caretakers for His purpose. It will see the Lord as the Source of true blessing, not our selfish desires.

(Deuteronomy 16:17; Proverbs 11:24-25; 13:7; Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15)

To despise God is to refuse to acknowledge His sovereignty and work, as well as His generous gift of grace. Refusing to yield your life over to God’s will, will cost you greatly in judgment and in life; as God’s ways are better than ours!

The lack of Generosity will reflect a lack of faith and obedience! 

  • Giving generously involves much more than performing outward actions; it comes from what Christ is doing in the heart! True generosity must be motivated by a heart that is poured out in Christ.
  • When a Christian is giving from selfish motives, they expect a return in their “investment,” when a real growing mature Christian gives nothing is expected in return. As their investment is eternal, the other so called Christian investment is in the world of today.
  • The key to successful Generosityis the same as in our faith development, where being active is the deployment of our faith. See your faith and your stuff as products from God, where faith is His work in us, and our stuff and desires need to be His implements.
  • In the church as well as the world, we as Christians are the product demonstrates of the precepts of our LORD. We do this by words and by our actions of our character and fruitful and faithful living.
  • Be the difference, so others in your church can see our Living Lord in the mirror of yourself as you reflect Him! To reflect Him, we have to act, think, and be as He has called us (2 Cor. 5:20).

If you think there are no rivers coming into you, then seek what is blocking them. Is it sin, attitude, fear….?  God blesses those who steadfastly embrace His call, and who stay true to Christ.

Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and Fruit of Generosity from God’s most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:

  1. How do I exhibit Generosity in my daily life?
  1. What can I do to develop a mindset to know that all I have in life belongs to God, and, since He supplies all I have and need, I can model His grace through being Generous?
  1. What blocks me from being Generous?
  1. How can I make Generosity function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?

Generosity is an example of our trust and reliance on God. Because He has given so much to us, way beyond what we can comprehend, we can therefore be charitable to others. 

Thus, Generosity is an act of worship–to model Christ, and see the big picture that goods and material things are not important, but relationships are. This goes to giving back to God, providing to those who have less, and making sure your church is modeling this character. A selfish church that does not give, and only sees themselves as a charity, will become a Dead Sea rather quickly. How sad and pathetic that would be–an unconcerned, uncaring, and self-absorbed quandary to the neighborhood, and a disgrace to the Kingdom! 

Biblical Concepts on Generosity PI

 

Generosity

What is “Generosity?”

What are the things that cause you to be stingy with what God gives you?

Generosity is actually a ‘Fruit’ of the Holy Spirit that gets a hold of the real believer; thus, this action will inspire one to be more charitable to others. This allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is also the wise use of stewardship and the proper attitude that all possessions belong to God. Since, we are merely the caretakers for His stuff, we can properly manage and re-purpose for Christ’s purpose. 

Key passages: Deuteronomy 16:17; Proverbs 11:24-25; 13:7; Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 9: 6-15; 1 John 3:17 

This Fruit encounter will see the Lord as the Source of true blessing, not our selfish desires.

Basically, God wants us to get rid of Stinginess, and is a person of character who in endowed by the Fruit of the Spirit so we can exhibit and practice Generosity.

What happens when we are not generous? What are the opposites of God’s call?Greed, Stinginess, Selfishness and Miserlinessare the fruits of the flesh that cause us to be ‘possessed’ by our possessions, stopping us from being a blessing and of use to God and others. These rotten fruits ‘rot’ because we hoard them and do not use them properly as Christ called us to do. This blocks the flow of God’s blessings and ‘living water’ from flowing in us. We will become stagnant and useless to the Kingdom or the people around us. Pride and arrogance will be the driving force, the quintessential things that God hates the most (Proverbs 6:16-18)!

Generosity is an example of our trust and reliance on God. Because He has given so much to us, way beyond what we can comprehend, we can therefore be charitable to others.

Generosity is also an act of worship–to model Christ, and see the big picture that goods and material things are not important, but relationships are. This goes to giving back to God, providing to those who have less, and making sure your church is modeling this character.

One of the things I both love and hate to do is go out to lunch with a bunch of fellow Christians after church or Bible study. I love the fellowship and conversation; but, when it comes to tip time, I, as the pastor usually ends up paying the tip or make up the rest bill. Then, hear complaints from waitresses about how stingy the various church groups are! When will we learn, as a Church, that our actions enable us to point others to the way to the Lord, and give us the ability to repel others from Him!

Let yourself be a rich and growing reservoir, overflowing like a fountain of living water that refreshes and encourages all those around you (Eph. 5:18). This will be your sweetness and virtue to others, which will point them to God and be a welcome mat to the Christian life.

 

A Template on How to Give

2 Corinthians 8:1-15 –  (NIV)

· …Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy…

· …and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity…

· …even beyond their ability…

· …Entirely on their own…

· …privilege of sharing in this service to the saints…

· …they gave themselves first to the Lord…

· …keeping with God’s Will…

· …in faith …excel in this grace of giving…

· …I am not commanding you…

· …you through his poverty might become rich…

· …you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so…

· …the gift is acceptable according to what one has…

· …not according to what he does not have…

· …eager willingness …the willingness is there…

· …your plenty will supply what they need…