GIVING God the Glory – 2 Corinthians 9
The 3rd message in The Generous Life sermon series.
In VA Beach there are 2 phrases that you hear often- they’re almost greetings. “No Worries.” The other is “It’s all good.” You’ll often hear them together, “No Worries, It’s all good.” It means that there’s nothing to be worried about or get upset about because it’s all gonna work out. “It’s all good” is pretty close to what I want you to realize this morning. This morning I want you to realize it’s all God’s.
When you realize “It’s all God’s” you have “No Worries.”
Saying it’s all good is supposed to be a reassurance, but really is it? It’s just a saying and we know right off that it’s not all good. There’s actually quite a lot of bad.
But the truth that it’s all God’s can be quite reassuring because if He’s got it, He can handle it, if He can give it to us, then we don’t need to worry. In the passage that we are going to look at next week Jesus points out that God takes care of the lilies in the field and the birds in some far tree that you’ll never see or know about and if He can manage all that, then He can manage what’s going on with you.
Some of you are facing problems that I don’t know anything about and I couldn’t even begin to imagine but God knows all about it and better yet God knows the solution and how it can all be worked out for good. He’s on top of it.
“No Worries. It’s all God’s.”
Now there are a couple of applications of the truth that it’s all God’s.
- We should thank Him.
This week is Thanksgiving and hopefully it will be about more than the incredible amount of food we are going to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day.
Hopefully it’s a time to reflect on everything that God has given you. Hopefully it’s a time that you have a profound sense that God has given you so much and done so much for you.
James says in chapter 1 every good gift comes from God.
John 3:27 no man receives a anything except from God.
Anything good in your life, it’s from Him.
Anything bad in your life, He can turn to good.
Romans 8 says he uses all things for the good…
That’s why Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5 to be thankful in all things.
All the good in your life is from God and He’s able to use all the bad in your life for good.
Here at our church we try to emphasize thanksgiving each year.
In the past we’ve done the photo challenge when we asked you to submit photos of what you are thankful for, we did A Thousand Thanks where we challenged you to send out a Thousand Thank You notes as a church (remember that was featured on the front page of the Thanksgiving Day paper), and a really tough one was we did the no complaints challenge…
Today we’re going to challenge you once again to be grateful in a unique way…
- We should be wise stewards.
If it’s all God’s then we should act in a way that reflects that it doesn’t belong to us.
If you’re a noble person- you’ll take better care of something that belongs to someone else than you do your own stuff.
I remember one time Kerry said, I hate to borrow someone’s tools because I’m afraid I’ll break them. We have a greater respect for something that has been loaned to us, given to us to use…
It’s all God’s so everything is on loan to us-
It’s all borrowed.
Sometimes people use the phrase “living on borrowed time” to refer to someone who doesn’t have long to live…
We are all living on borrowed time.
It’s all God’s…
A steward is someone who takes care of something for someone. They manage it, they oversee it.
If you ask someone to house sit while you’re on vacation, they’re a steward. If they have a party and wreck your house, they’re not a good steward…
If you’ve heard this story before, I apologize but I love to tell it.
In college there was a guy named Mark from Indiana. Mark had a pretty beat up car. It had green trunk and red front fender.
Mark loaned his car to this guy named Jeremiah who worked nights. Mark came out to go to class one morning and his car wasn’t back in it’s space. He went and found Jeremiah asleep so he woke him up. My roommate Marcus was there when Mark woke up Jeremiah he said Mark asked “Jeremiah, where’s my car?” and Jeremiah responded with “I don’t really want to talk about it right now…”
Jeremiah had run off the road and the car had to be towed but Jeremiah had forgotten the name of the tow truck company so Mark had to call every tow truck company in the phone book looking for his car…
Jeremiah was a pretty bad steward with what Mark had given him and his response of I don’t really want to talk about it right now was laughable, but let’s be honest.
When God asks us what we did with what He’s given us our standard response is “I don’t want to talk about it…”
I recognize that money is awkward to talk about and this might be uncomfortable because you don’t have a great answer for what you did with what God has blessed you with.
Some of you know and it wasn’t a wise choice.
Some of you are like Jeremiah and you’re not even really sure where what you were given went to…
This morning I’m going to talk to you about giving once again because I want you to be able to give acknowledging that it’s all God’s.
We are not talking about giving because we are building something or trying to fund the budget- I’m not worried about that, you know why? It’s all God’s.
We are not building buildings or funding an organization, we are changing lives. That’s what I’m after today.
I don’t want something from you this morning, I want something for you. I want you to live the good life and the good life is the generous life.
The Generous life is the good life because it acknowledges that it’s all God.
If I wanted something from you, I could preach a message this morning that would guilt you into giving.
I could make you feel bad for not giving and it would probably work to get you to give-
I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen churches do this.
I’ve seen churches compel people to give through guilt and obligation.
There are churches that have people sign contracts.
If you give out of guilt or because you are forced into giving, you’ll be free of the guilt once you give, but then you are right back here where you started only you have less money…
But if you were to give because you wanted to- because you were being generous, that would be true progress. Then not only would you be giving, your heart would be changing and becoming more generous…
That’s what we are doing here.
We are changing lives.
That’s what this passage that we are going to dive into is talking about, giving generously because you want to- not because you have to…
Truth is there are some of you that want to give generously and faithfully but you can’t because you’ve made bad financial decisions then there are some of you that you could give but you are not because you don’t see it as important, and really everyone who isn’t giving is living somewhere in between- some of you have made bad financial decisions because giving isn’t a priority to you- you didn’t even factor in your monthly or weekly giving when you made the decision to buy your last house or car…
Let’s check out verses 6-7.
The Corinthians had some major issues so Paul wrote them his first letter. They made some progress but still had some wrinkles that needed to be ironed out but one thing that the Corinthians did get was generosity.
So much so that Paul says in the beginning of this passage that he has bragged on them for how generous they are…
Paul includes a reminder about a collection for the saints in Jerusalem and tells them to be ready, not because they have to but because they want to…
God loves when we give cheerfully. (v. 7)
It’s interesting that Paul says, as every man has purposed in his heart, let him so give.
This was a special offering that was being collected. It was in addition to the support of their local church, it was an outside cause they were giving toward.
We do this here, we collect special offerings for causes, missions, etc.
We’ll do it again in the month of December. We’ll collect a special offering called gifts for Jesus and 100% of it will go to Family Ministries which is a cooperation of ministries to a crisis pregnancy center (which we gave diapers to at Easter) and children’s homes for foster children.
The offering that the Corinthians were preparing was not for their local church so Paul tells them to give as you feel led.
We see that in the local church setting there was an expectation of a regular consistent gift of the “tithe.”
Tithe means 10%.
The ministry of the church is supported through tithes.
Special causes such as gifts to the needy and collections for missionaries are offerings.
While Paul is speaking of an offering here, the principles he lays down apply to all giving.
He says God loves a cheerful giver.
The word for cheerful is the root word for hilarious.
God loves a hilarious giver- that doesn’t mean that he looks at how much money you gave and laughs but it means that He loves when you are excited to give.
In other words, God loves it when we are excited to give.
God loves it when we give because we are passionate about it.
God wants you to be all in on the mission and vision of the church to reach those who do not know Him that you are pumped to contribute to it.
The contrast is giving grudgingly or out of necessity.
If you give because you feel like you have to or you give with a grimace on your face, then there is something wrong.
Your heart is not in tune with the mission and vision, you are not believing that God has got this and that He’ll reward your faithfulness….
Something is off…
My grandfather was a Pastor in Norfolk, VA.
He went to a Christmas play that my mother was in and he couldn’t believe that they didn’t sing any Christmas songs that he was familiar with. When he asked about it he was told that they weren’t allowed to sing any songs that mention the birth of Jesus.
This was in the 60’s.
So he was passionate about starting a Christian school.
It took a lot of effort and sacrifice, but it happened.
At the first graduation a man who had given generously to see the school get started was standing there and he pointed at one of the graduates and said “there goes my bass boat.”
My grandfather looked at him and before he could say anything the man said, “but that’s better than any bass boat.”
Beauty of that isn’t that he gave the an equivalent of a bass boat, but rather that he was thankful for the choice he made.
God blesses when we give generously. (6-10)
Now Paul’s point is that we should give because we want to, not because we have to.
Paul does point out that God blesses when we give.
He’s not saying that they should give in order to get something, but he’s telling them that when they give from the right motivation, God notices and He blesses.
In the Old Testament God actually says, prove me or test me, give and see if I don’t open up the windows of heaven and send rain.
Scripture says that when we give faithfully God blesses.
It doesn’t promise to bless us with more money or nicer things.
I don’t believe that if you give in the offering today that God is going to send you a check in the mail.
I do believe that God will see your generosity and bless you for it.
That might be in the form of a material blessing or may be in the form of a spiritual blessing.
verse 8 says
8And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
Remember, it’s all God’s.
He’s able to make all grace abound in your life.
He’s able to influence everything in your life.
He’s able to lean on, nudge, direct, and align everything in your life.
He’s in control. Do you believe that?
If you believe that He’s in control, why would we doubt that when we are faithful to give that He would not be faithful to bless our lives.
Verse 10 points out, He’s the one that gave you the seeds to be sown in the first place.
He’s the one that gave you what you have to give to Him so why couldn’t and why wouldn’t He give you more so that you can give more back in return.
Notice that verse 11 says “being enriched.”
Do you remember the verse from Ephesians last week that God wants to help the rich in this world “be rich” in generosity.
Some people take these verses to mean that if you have faith and give that God will make you rich- that’s not what God is interested in. God is interested in making you radically generous.
He’s not interested in you having more so much as he’s interested in you giving more.
Some of the richest people I know are the most generous people I know and I fully believe that God blessed them so that they could be generous-
And if God is going to bless someone so that they can be generous, He’s gonna start with someone who is already generous.
Some of you don’t have anything to give because if you did you wouldn’t give it.
I’m sure you tell yourself, “well if I had more money then I would give” but if it’s hard for you to be generous with a percentage of where you are at right now, I doubt you’ll be generous with a larger amount either.
God blesses generosity. He does not bless selfishness.
I’m blessed. So blessed.
I was raised giving. It has always been natural to me.
When I was kid I mowed my grandmothers grass for $10.
I got paid in a 5 and 5 singles because I was going to give 10% in Sunday School.
I’m sure it’s easier to learn and take that step when 10% is a dollar.
More than I’ve been blessed to learn that from an early age, I’m blessed in what it has done for my heart.
I’ve always viewed what I have as from God.
That’s not bragging, in fact it’s the opposite. It’s acknowledging that nothing in my life have I earned for myself, it’s all been a gift from God.
Right now Nicole and I are renovating an old house that we bought from the bank. It had been a foreclosure.
We are getting really close to being done.
I’ve worked some late nights over there recently.
When I call it a night and walk to my truck it’s really quiet and the stars are really clear and I have this profound sense of gratitude because it’s all God.
If God never gave me an extra dollar or an extra pair of shoes for my giving through the years but he gave me that profound sense of gratitude, it was worth it. It would be a great harvest on the seeds I’ve planted.
God glories when we give obediently. (11-15)
Verse 11 says that you are enriched which causes through us thanksgiving to God.
Paul said one of the harvests that your generosity will immediately produce is our thanksgiving to God.
Paul is saying that their generosity is a seed that will immediately produce Thanksgiving to God through Paul and his ministry team.
That’s the real harvest that we are looking for, more and more people giving God the glory.
At the end of all things, what John saw when God gave him a glimpse of the very end, the final scene is people of every nation, every tribe, every tongue, giving God the glory.
and this is fitting because it’s all God’s. Even the glory.
For this reason Paul ended or started his letters with something along the lines of all glory and praise to Him.
Paul says not only will we thank God, but those who are blessed by this gift will thank God too.
In verse 13 Paul says,
Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
Paul says they will glorify God for your subjection to the gospel.
In other words, they will give God glory because you’ve been obedient.
When we are generous God gets the glory in our lives and in the lives of those who are blessed by the gift.
The Story of Hiram Ramirez.