Giving That Feels Good
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
have a theory that it takes about two years before a preacher knows the
congregation well enough to have a clear vision for what needs to be done.
Usually if they start making changes right off the bat they are reacting to
what they wanted to change or do in their last congregation, and not what’s
best for the present one.
also believe that it takes at least two years for the congregation to see if
they trust the preacher and are willing to see the vision that he is laying out
for them. That being said, I have asked the Elders if there were things they
saw and felt that we needed to study a little deeper. We talked about a few
ideas, but they wanted us to spend a little time talking about giving.
don’t know what your opinion on giving is but I want to start today by making
two quick observations. First giving is a personal problem. It’s no secret that
we have members of this church that own their own businesses, and members of
this church that are living on Social Security. Because we are so very
different it’s easy to take our focus away from God and place it on one
living on Social Security begin to think, well I have so little and there are
those who have so much, let them give.
As a matter of fact if they would give like they should then I can use
what I have to pay my bills. Then
those who own their own businesses say, "You know I feel like all I am is
a dollar sign." Every time I
walk into the building someone wants something; I have worked hard to get where
I am, so let someone else give.
that leads right to the second observation, giving is a spiritual problem. You see giving is an outside indicator
of what’s going on, on the inside. What I mean is that if my spiritual life is
good then I fully trust God and gladly give back to Him what He originally
trusted me with. If my relationship is not right with God then I cannot give
like God desires of me. Studies on congregational giving
indicate 20 percent of the members give 80 percent of the funds, 30 percent
give 20 percent, and approximately half give nothing at all! What does that say
about the spiritual health of the local church?
when we hear sermons on giving the preacher stands in front of the church and
says we need to give more so that we can pay our bills and missionaries, and
buy Sunday school curriculum. And the congregation hears, “You need to give
more so that I can make more money!” You know you do, and the way that some
preachers approach the subject that’s what I hear as well.
see when I was a younger man I was motivated to give because my dad pressed the
quarter into my hand and said “Put this in the plate.” As I got older I was
motivated to give because my dad would look at my check that I received and
said, “How much of that are you going to give back to God?” When I got out on
my own I had to find my own motivation to give back to God. You see it all
boils down to motivation.
me see if I can explain it a different way. One of the most popular New Years resolutions every year is
to lose weight. So I want you to raise your hand if you have no idea how to
all know how to lose weight, but do you realize that weight loss is a
multi-billion-dollar industry. If everybody already knows how to lose weight,
what's the problem?
problem is that we don't want to do what we know; it’s motivation, not
knowledge. So today I want to take an honest look at our motivations for
giving. And see what the Bible has to say about that motivation.
MOTIVATION #1: GUILT
"HAVE TO" GIVING
2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul encourages us to be cheerful givers. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or
of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
want you to know that the word here you Bibles translated cheerful is
related to our English word "hilarious." So it literally says “God
loves a Hilarious giver” A Belly laughing giver. Is that the feeling that you get when you give? In a moment when we pass out the
collection plates are you going to have a good laugh as you give back to God.
In the book When Helping You Is Hurting Me, Carmen
Renee Berry gives the following thought: Givers fall into the Messiah Trap when
the opportunity to give is viewed as an obligation. If a person has no choice
but to give, he or she is no longer giving but is being taken. When a person
feels taken, the joy is replaced by resentment. Since Messiah Givers are
addicted to giving and therefore unable to place realistic limits on giving,
the tendency is to give and give and give, and stop only when there is nothing
left but feelings of guilt and fatigue.
remember we should not feel forced to give, Paul writes not reluctantly or under compulsion, guilt cannot be a biblical
motivator, but it is used a lot! I heard a preacher say one time; we have some
good news and bad news. The good news is that we have enough money to do
everything God wants us to do. The bad news is that it is in your wallet. In
Alabama we call that a guilt trip. There are strengths and
weaknesses of this motivation.
Strength: Guilt can be effective in bringing in
Weakness. It's actually unbiblical! It
brings no joy and doesn't help people out-grow materialism. Remember what Paul
says your attitude is what matters to God. So I believe that we can all agree
that guilt is not a good motivation for giving.
MOTIVATION #2: RESPONSABILITY
"OUGHT TO" GIVING
In 2 Corinthians 8, The apostle Paul is writing to
the Corinthians bragging on those in Macedonia and how they were willing to
give back to the Lord, while living in poverty. When he gets to verse 7 Paul makes this appeal. But as you abound in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in
all diligence, and in your love for us-see that you abound in this grace also 2 Corinthians 8:7
grace is that? Well in context of the passage we see that the grace is giving.
Paul is teaching us that we need to grow in our faith, grow in our speech, grow
in our knowledge, and even grow in our giving. In this passage we see that
every believer has a certain responsibility to trust God by what we give, and
as we spend time with God and grow in our faith, we must also grow in our
There is strength in this motivation. Because money
is given we feel like we are fulfilling our responsibility and this approach
feels so much better than the guilt motivation. Another strength is that people
learn responsibility to God and to his local church. That is a healthy character trait, to take ownership of the
But there is a greater weakness involved. Giving
solely out of responsibility takes away our joy our sense of hilarious giving,
and makes this act cold and legalistic. When I give out of duty or
responsibility it's easy to feel, "I've done my part, and that’s all I’m
going to do.” So I believe that we
can all agree that responsibility is not a good motivation for giving.
#3: NEEDS "WANT TO" GIVING
I believe that there is enough teaching in
scriptures to back up the statement that “God wants us to be concerned about
meeting needs.” Time and time
again Jesus taught about the necessity of loving those whom God loves and
taking care of the helpless. Look at a wonderful text from the Pen of Paul
found in Ephesians 4:28 “Let the thief no
longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands,
so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”
In this text Paul is sharing with us the motivation
behind work. We are to work, so
that if anyone has a need we can share with them in order to meet that need.
Giving is a holy thing, and we are quick to jump to the rescue if we know
someone is truly in need. Natural disasters strike and we send millions of
dollars and supplies by the truckload. A police officer is shot down in the
line of duty and we give freely to his children’s college fund.
Knowing about a need often kindles a desire to
provide the resources. We freely give because we all know the feeling of
vulnerability and want to help in any way that we can. And in the church we
rally and meet needs as well. I
have worked with several different congregations as a member and a minister,
and every time there was a great need there was a great response.
That’s the strength of this type of motivation,
giving to satisfy needs feels good. This kind of giving brings a cheerful heart
and doesn't rely on compulsion to force people to give reluctantly. This
motivation touches our heartstrings and encourages people to learn the
discipline of sacrificial giving.
Giving to meet a need will raise larger sums of
money and increase involvement because some people give only when they see a
need. And that strength also is the weakness. You see there are those who won’t
give because they don't see the "need" or worse they don’t approve of
The church has some month to month expenses just
like you do at your homes and it is hard to get excited about meeting month to
month expenses. I see the need to
have heat in the winter in my home but paying the churches utility bill doesn’t
make me want to give. I am willing to pay for garbage pick-up at my home, but
having the garbage taken off doesn’t create a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. I
realize the need for insurance on my home, but I am probably not going to pass
on buying a new pair of shoes so that we can pay the insurance premium here at
So I believe that we can all agree that meeting
needs is not the best motivation for giving.
#4: THANKSGIVING "CAN'T HELP IT" GIVING
Paul indicated in 2 Corinthians that it was good
for the church to supply the needs of God's people, but he wouldn’t want them
to stop there because he knew of the weaknesses. So in 2 Corinthians 9: 10-15
he supplies us with another motivation.
Now if I were to have asked you this morning what
is the Biblical reason for giving a majority would have probably said that we
give back to God because we are thankful.
This is the motivation that I was taught from a very early age, look at
what Paul says:
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and
bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the
fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all
liberality, which causes thanksgiving through
us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs
of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings
to God, while, through the proof of this ministry,
they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ,
and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for
you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks
be to God for His indescribable gift! (2
Church I truly believe that giving is a holy
activity. I say that because giving is a way of thanksgiving and praising God
for all He has done. God has blessed me with a job so I will give back to Him
as a way of saying thanks. I receive a check for money that I didn’t count on
and I give to God as a way of saying thanks. I received a Tax refund when I was
sure that I was going to have to pay, and I give as a way of saying thank you
That’s the strength of giving out of thanksgiving;
it feels good because I am acknowledging a blessing! This type of giving points
our hearts in God's direction since we have a tangible way of showing our
thanks to him. He has blessed us and in return we bless Him.
Now while there is nothing wrong with this
motivation for giving, its weakness is found in our perception of
thankfulness. If I am not aware of the blessings God has poured out in my life
then I tend to not be as thankful. Some people can miss the joy of how God has
blessed them because they're not paying attention.
There are so many blessings that come our way every
day that we tend to take them for granted. Health is a blessing, but I only
acknowledge my health when I am sick. My house is a blessing, but I only
acknowledge it when I have to make a repair. My truck is a blessing but I only acknowledge it when I put
$60.00 worth of diesel in the tank. God blesses us in so many ways, but some of
the blessings I take for granted.
So I believe that we can all agree that
thankfulness is not the best motivation for giving. And this brings us to the
last, and the greatest, motivation for giving.
MOTIVATION #5: WORSHIP
"IT'S MY NATURE" GIVING
2 Corinthians 8:5, Paul uses the Christians in Macedonia as examples to the
church in Corinth by pointing out a unique quality of their giving. And not only as we had hoped, but they first
gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
Macedonian Christians "gave
themselves first to God." Their financial decisions flowed out of
their relationship to the Father. When it's your nature to give to God, giving
becomes an act of worship. And this can be seen in the way that Paul describes
the act of Giving to us in his various letters.
writes that giving is a "confession
of the gospel" in 2 Corinthians 9:13 While, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the
obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal
sharing with them and all men.
Then Paul describes giving is an act of trust in 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to
trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things
to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give,
willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to
come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
And finally Paul teaches that Giving is an offering to God in Philippians
4:15-18. " Now you Philippians know also that in
the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared
with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica
you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I
seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am
full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a
sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
I believe that this is the best motivation for
giving because it is the only motivation that is devoid of any weakness.
Worship is the highest possible motivation. It creates true commitment, pleases
God, and allows much work to be done to advance the cause of his kingdom, and
feels good, too!
There are no weaknesses to this motivation to
giving! The devil can't steal your joy in the Lord or stop your work for Christ.
Today I want to close our time together by asking
you what is your motivation for giving? Or a more important question is what is
your motivation for living?
Questions to Consider
is giving a personal problem?
spiritual struggles can be seen in the way we give?
are some of the different ways that we can give?
of these are the easiest for you to give?
of these are the most difficult for you to give?
named 5 motivators to give this morning: guilt, responsibility, need,
thanksgiving, and worship. Where are you?
motivated would you say that you are to give to God and His church?
can you become a “hilarious” giver?