This week Greg wrapped up our series Nothing to Lose by sharing guiding principles for generous living.
Be motivated by generosity: God was first generous to us. Jesus who is God was willing to come the infinite distance between divinity and humanity to save us while we were still sinners. Because of what Jesus has done we have been shown immeasurable generosity and are rich beyond compare.
Follow the pattern of God’s generosity: Jesus is our example of generosity. Paul says that, “Jesus did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited.” Likewise, we should not shut out those in need or forget the advantages we have been given. We are made in the image of a generous God- so it is natural and good for us to be generous!
Be generous without external compulsion: Many wonder how much they should give and feel compelled because of their past experiences with the church. Even the concept of tithe in the Bible can be confusing. Greg shared that the tithe was part of the Old covenant given to Israel and provided for the temple and priest. However, we as Christians are under a new covenant and not bound by the tithe anymore. The New Testament presupposes our freedom from the law and likewise the church should not use manipulation or scare tactics to compel giving. Instead Greg shared a few guidelines for giving: Give with overflowing joy, and give as much as you are able-and sometime even beyond what you are able.
Consider it a privilege. Excel in the grace of giving. Give sacrificially, reflecting the generosity of Jesus. Give according to your desire. Give generously not grudgingly. Remember that God loves a cheerful giver.
Finally, we should seek first the kingdom of God and make giving a part of budget and that we submit to God and pay first. We can go to God and ask Him what He would like us to give to that has kingdom significance and helps others.
I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God As something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.
"For so many years, I have been blessed by your music ministry. It takes me to a place that evokes so many emotions and feelings: gratefulness; honor; love; joy; hope; peace; strength. My heart feels connected to the heart of God over and over again as we worship together."