Give Intentionally. We are INTENTIONAL consumers. We plan how to “intentionally” consume. We scheme for ways to get what we want. If we want something badly enough we begin thinking and scheming. If I cut back on this and this and don’t eat for a month, I can get it. But have you ever heard someone say, If I don’t go out to lunch every day and if I don’t buy that LCD HD TV and if I don’t get those new clothes, I will be able to give intentionally? How rare would that be?
by Delbert Young
Scriptures: 1 Timothy 6:17-19; 2 Corinthians 9:11; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Luke 12:16; Luke 12:20;
We are in our series called HOW TO BE RICH, not how to GET rich. In our first lesson, we learned some good news and some BAD NEWS. Help me with this. The good news is what? WE ARE RICH. One of the best things that has happened in our series is many of you actually realized you are rich.
If you haven’t been here, that news is shocking to you, but according to the world’s standards, you are now rich. We learned if you make around $35,000 a year, you are in the top 4% of the wage earners of the world. If you make $45,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of wage earners alive in the world today. Some of you are so rich you own a car, or two, or three. Only 3% of the world’s population owns a car. Some of you are so rich you go to restaurants and pay people to cook and serve you food. Some even throw food away while millions of poor people go hungry. The good news is God has blessed you with more than you need. You are rich.
There is also BAD NEWS. What is the bad news? YOU ARE RICH. It’s bad news because this is one of your greatest spiritual challenges. The challenge is to trust in God more than you trust in your riches. Jesus said it is easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to get a rich person into the kingdom of God. It’s also a challenge because Jesus said to whom much is given, much is required.
In our second lesson, we learned the DECEITFULNESS OF RICHES. Jesus said, if not cautious, riches will choke the spiritual life out of us. Jesus said that if we love money, we despise God for we can’t love God and money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Money causes people to wander away from their faith. We blame the devil, but our love of money is the cause of all kinds of evil.
How many of you parents, at some point in your child’s life, had to “command” your child to share a toy you provide him or her with a sibling, or with other children? He or she did not want to share and had the audacity to become arrogant and tell you, “No. It’s mine!” Your child forgot you provided them with that toy. You are their toy giver. You could say you are your child’s toy god. Your child is like many of us who forget that God is our provider.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are RICH in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, WHO RICHLY PROVIDES US WITH EVERYTHING FOR OUR ENJOYMENT. Command them to do good, TO BE RICH in good deeds, and to be generous andWILLING to SHARE.
God provides us with everything for our enjoyment. He wants to bless us and give us “toys,” butcommands us to do good deeds, be generous, and share. That’s how to BE RICH. God wants us to enjoy everything, but make a difference in the lives of others. How do you do with what God provides you? Although Father God commands us to share, we too often become arrogant and say, “No. It’s mine!”
When it comes to your generosity and sharing, how many desire to be a “below average” sharer? Anyone? No one? However, according to all the studies I find, many are below average. There are exceptions, but chances are that many of us in this room are below average when it comes to sharing what God has given us.
Statistically, the richer you are, the less percentage you give. “The average American gives 3.1% of their income (before taxes) to charity.” That is horrible. You recently did your taxes. How did you do on charitable giving? I use Turbo Tax. After I finish my taxes using Turbo Tax, I go through an audit check where it flags areas where I am abnormal and could trigger an audit by the IRS. Every year, I smile at my one flag. My charitable contributions are too high. How did you do?
Watch this! “The people that give the most actually make the least. Households earning under $10,000 a year — far below the poverty line — gave 5.2% of their income to charity.” The average is 3.1%, but people below the poverty line give 5.2%. Statistically, the more God blesses us, the more stingy we become. That’s bad as we will see.
I want to ask you a question. Why has God so blessed us and made us rich? When I asked myself that question, the obvious answer was so I can have more, get more, and spend more. As my income increases, my lifestyle increases. When I look at people, that is what I see, so that must be the reason. How about you? Is that what you see happen when God blesses people richly? Would that be your answer?
How rarely would you or I say of a person who God blessed richly financially that God must have blessed that person so they could give more? Why has God made you rich?
2 Corinthians 9:11 You will be MADE RICH in every way SO THAT you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will RESULT IN THANKSGIVING TO GOD.
That’s HOW TO BE RICH. God makes us rich so when we share with others, they see God’s love for them through us and give THANKSGIVING TO GOD. People see God through us and because of us. Imagine this. God made you rich in every way and when people see you, they think and say, “I thank my God for you! You have money, but you are not arrogant and selfish. You are awesome. I am so thankful God and you are in my life. You make a difference with your money. I thank my God for you!”
By nature, we are selfish. What your child did by not wanting to share, you once did as a child. It’s our human nature. We are born selfish. So, how can we share in a way that RESULTS IN THANKSGIVING TO GOD. First, realize we learn to give. We learn to share. It’s childish to be selfish. How do we learn to give correctly?
YOU BECOME AN INTENTIONAL GIVER.
Think about this. We are INTENTIONAL consumers. We plan how to “intentionally” consume. We scheme for ways to get what we want. If we want something badly enough we begin thinking and scheming. If I cut back on this and this and don’t eat for a month, I can get it. For example, say someone wants a house. They begin scheming. If I borrow money from my grandparents toward my down payment, and get this amount from my credit cards, and get a raise and get my tax refund and get a special interest loan then I can get that house. People scheme to consume, but have you, or have you ever seen someone, scheme to give? Have you ever heard someone say, “If I don’t go out to lunch every day and if I don’t buy that LCDHD TV and if I don’t get those new clothes, I will be able to give”? How rare would that be?
We become intentional givers by learning to decide in our hearts to give.
2 Corinthians 9:7 Each man should give what he has DECIDED IN HIS HEART TO GIVE, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for GOD LOVES A CHEERFUL GIVER.
You become an intentional giver by deciding in your heart to give. That makes giving a cheerful experience. That is what God loves. God loves people who look forward and anticipate giving. You look forward to consuming, but DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO GIVING?
Delbert, what do you mean we become an intentional giver by deciding in our hearts to give? I mean you talk about what you want to give with your spouse, or your parents. Not long ago, someone here was about to get a bonus. He was telling others and me about it anticipating being able to give.
Another thing you do to be an intentional giver is pray about it. You become excited about it. Judy and I do this all the time. Once, years ago, many moons ago, before I went into the ministry, our church wanted to add a satellite dish so we could bring in some well known ministries via satellite. We didn’t have the amount of money we wanted to give. Judy and I discussed it, prayed about it, were excited about it, and actually (intentionally) went to the bank and borrowed what we wanted to give. That’s unusual, I know, but that’s one way we learned to give intentionally. We borrowed money to build a house and buy a car. Why not borrow to build the kingdom? I’m not recommending anyone do that. My point is we learn to SCHEME about giving. We were excited and cheerful about giving it, which is how we always are about our giving when we do it intentionally.
Every year we are excited when we get our giving reports because usually every year what we gave is more than the year before. We learned to intentionally give.
There will be something special to which we want to give. We pray individually and get a figure and then I tell Judy what I want to do. Most times, we are together, but there have been times Judy would say, “I felt more than that.” What did we do? We went with the bigger number.
I am cautious when I tell this story, but maybe it will challenge you to give big one day. When we began this church in 1987, Judy and I gave our house. It was a nearly new house. We built all 2,300 square feet of it. We knew God gave it to us and would bless us. We were excited about giving it and from that giving, the lives of many, many people have come to the Lord and experienced a great spiritual change. That giving RESULTED IN THANKSGIVING TO GOD.
Have you ever heard the statement, “Money changes people”? It’s true. Money does change people. However, I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say, “Money changes ME.” It does. It will change you for better or for worse. Sadly, usually worse. Let’s look at a parable Jesus told along these lines.
Luke 12:16 And he told them this parable: The ground of a certain RICH MAN produced a good crop. He thought to himSELF, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down MY barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store ALL MY grain and MY goods. And I’ll say to mySELF, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘
What did he just say? “It’s mine! Self, keep it ALL. Self, it’s all for you. Self, you can get your Selfanything you want.” He said I INTEND to consume it all on mySELF. He was not being rich in a way that RESULTS IN THANKSGIVING TO GOD. He was being SELFISH. When you are SELFISH, you always think more is always for Self.
We point at him and say something like that’s not good, but we all do this. For example, we are each going to get around a $600 rebate from the economic stimulus package. What are you planning on doing with it? Fill in the blank. I plan on using my $600 to ______________. How many have said, “Wow! I will have some extra money to share with people, which will RESULT IN THANKSGIVING TO GOD!”? Let’s look at the next verse about the rich man.
Luke 12:20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourSELF?’ “This is how it will be with ANYONE who stores up things forhimSELF but is not RICH TOWARD GOD.”
What does that mean exactly? Did his misuse of God’s blessings hasten or cause his demise? I do know that God was not happy with his SELFishness.
Question: Who made this guy rich? He was a farmer. God made the sun to shine and the rain to fall and seed grow. God was not angry with the guy because he was rich. God made him rich. He was a fool because he did not know HOW TO BE RICH.
My point is that we are rich because God made us rich. You might say, “Oh no. I worked and did it.” Yes, but God gave you your talents and abilities. Beyond that, God can turn your lights out in the blink of an eye. God makes your sun shine and your rain fall and your crops grow. So, when God looks at what you do with what he gave you, what does he say? Does he say, “YOU FOOL,” or “Well done”?
God is not pleased when he gives us more and we consume it all on SELF. Also, we must INTENTIONALLY…
RETURN TO GOD WHAT BELONGS TO GOD.
If you are serious with God and truly desire to BE RICH in a way that honors and pleases God, then you must deal with this in your heart. So, I must deal with this if I am going to help us. Please understand this is not a talk to get your money. If that is what you are hearing, you are so wrong. I am trying to make certain you do not allow riches to choke the spiritual life out of you and the love of money cause you to wander away from the faith.
I want to show you a video. This is Craig Groeschel of Life Church.tv. He is Pastor Lance’s pastor in OKC. He did a great job explaining what I am explaining, so take a look. (Video)
Here is what I want to present to you.
Malachi 3:10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. TEST ME IN THIS,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
The Hebrew word translated “test” is bachan and means exactly what it says, i.e. to test; to investigate. The Lord said to test him. Some of you might say you want to honor and worship the Lord with your tithe. So, I want to offer you a way to test him. Here is what we will do. See an elder for details. You tithe for three months. We will keep records and at the end of three months, if you say you do not agree with it and tithing did not work for you, we will give you back every penny with no questions asked. However, I know that God, over that time, will prove himself to you. Your trust and faith will expand. You will walk in a new place in God. It’s the first step (actually a baby step) in intentional giving.
GOD HAS BLESSED ME WITH MORE THAN I NEED. I AM RICH. I WILL NOT BE DECEIVED BY RICHES. BECAUSE I HAVE MORE, I WILL GIVE MORE. That’s HOW TO BE RICH in a way that honors, pleases, and matters to God.
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