Sunday, October 9, 2011

Money's Motive

Money's Motive
Oct 10, 2011
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."

You have heard that you reap what you sow. This is a reference to sowing seed into the ground, expecting a future harvest of fruit from that seed. This is true in all facets of life, both the physical and spiritual. The Lord says you'll reap rewards when you sow financially. He says, "Test me in this and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Sounds like a winning formula: put a small financial seed IN and get a huge financial crop OUT! The Lord was talking about sowing the full tithe, ten percent off the top, into His house. He made this promise of blessing because His people were being greedy and stingy with their money. They were keeping the tithe to themselves. There wasn't any generosity in their hearts; they weren't even giving out of obedience or compulsion.

The Lord set up the first rules of financial giving way back in the Old Testament. He instructed the Israelites to bring their tithes into His storehouse. The Lord was extremely specific; "bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks." It wasn't just a ten percent tithe; there were freewill offerings and special gifts, too. We rarely give a full ten percent, let alone an additional freewill offering or special gift. If we do give at special times, we usually count it toward our tithe, checking it off the list, getting closer to that ten percent. There are quite a few who don't give at all, which the Lord considers hoarding. If someone is hoarding his tithe, it is safe to say he probably isn't giving freewill offerings or special gifts, either. Stingy with tithes probably means stingy on all counts.

The Apostle Paul said that we should each give what we have decided in our hearts to give and do so with a good attitude. (His comment was made in reference to directing our special gifts and freewill offerings, by the way, not redefining the tithe as an optional ten percent.) Paul was advising that the heart should be involved when we give, or stated more clearly, having a spirit of generosity. He said directly that the Lord loves a cheerful giver. It is interesting that right before he talked about giving cheerfully, he also reinforced the lesson of sowing. Paul wrote, "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." Bring this "sow/reap generously" principle back full circle to the Lord's promise of testing Him with the full tithe and reaping a harvest so large there won't be room enough to contain it. You'll reap what you sow. If you sow generously you will reap generously. This is indicative of a heart condition, not an amount. You may out-give most people in your church when it comes to the dollar amount or even percent of income, but if your heart isn't in it (sowing sparingly), you will reap sparingly.

If God's promise of pouring out financial blessing doesn't seem to apply in your life, maybe the fault isn't in the amount you are giving, but the heart in which you give. If you give out of compulsion or with motive to get something in return, then you are probably sowing sparingly regardless of the amount. You will reap sparingly if your motive isn't out of a spirit of generosity. Sow with an attitude of generosity, regardless of the amount, and you are guaranteed to reap generously. Change your heart; the Lord loves it when you give out of a willful and glad heart. If your heart isn't in it . . . well, you'll reap what you sow.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Lev 27:30-32, Numbers 18, Deut 12:5-6, Proverbs 11:18, Malachi 3:6-10, 2 Corinthians 9:6-14, Gal 6:7-8

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