Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Oct 11, 2015 Sermon

“Hands That Give”
2 Corinthians 9:6 – 12
Ted Jansen October 11, 2015  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        What were you taught about money as a child?  What lessons did you learn about money as a teenager? What did you do with the money you received from your first job?  What financial challenges have you faced?  Where do you look for financial counsel?  How has Christian teaching guided your understanding of financial stewardship?  Are you a saver or a spender?     
           
2.)        As a child I remember we had family jobs and we gave money to the church. When I was a teenager I learned that if I worked more I got paid more.  I wanted a new 10 speed bike so I started a paper route and saved up for that bike over a year. 
Sue and I chose to help our kids with college costs and that involved sacrifice and a plan.
I have looked to counsel from a man named Larry Burkett for understanding on money and stewardship.  An idea he shared was to make a car payment to yourself each paycheck and pay cash for cars.  We have been able to do most of our married life.   
I have also looked to Dave Ramsey in the last few years for financial counsel.  He speaks about the 7 Baby Steps, his plan to help people get out of debt. 
As my faith in Christ grew so did my financial giving and understanding of being a steward.  I learned about tithing, giving God 10%, when I was around 22, and have had that as my goal.  I tend to be a saver rather than a spender.  
 
3.)        Sue learned that if she wanted anything she had to work for it and get it. She started working when she was 13.  She wanted to go to college, so she had to work and pay her way through college.  She did not take out any loans. 
She also shared that when she was in her 20’s when she was depressed she would buy things.  This changed when she was going through a hard time and was depressed and went out and bought a nice used white Camaro.  When she realized what she had done, how much she had spent and how long the car payments were going to be, she decided that she needed to do things differently with her money.  Sue tends to be a spender.       
 
4.)        As you listen to a little bit of our stories I hope it will make you think about your financial story.  Each of us can always learn more about money and stewardship.    
            Paul needed to teach the church in Corinth about being stewards of money.  The idea of money being God’s money and giving a portion of it to the church and God was a new idea to most, if not all of them.  In 2 Corinthians 8 Paul reminds them to complete the offering for the believers in Jerusalem.  (2 Corinthians 8:6).  He teaches them that God’s grace and resources are given to them.  The beginning of stewardship is that we are stewards of God’s money.    
            Paul offers a few more principles on money and giving in this 9th chapter of 2 Corinthians.  This idea of taking their money and giving a portion of it to God was a new concept.  It was new because they did not have the scriptures, the Old Testament, as a part of their heritage.  These were Gentiles, not Jews.  Paul has to teach without an Old Testament understanding.    
If they were Jews they would understand the practice and principle of the tithe, the first fruits, and the importance of giving to God.  They would understand how we are stewards and care for God’s resources.  They don’t have that background or foundation.  Paul cannot begin teaching about the principles from Jewish life, foundation or perspective. 
Here are three phrases that give us insights into what Paul wanted them to understand.     
5.)        Sowers are Reapers
            The people lived from the produce of the land and the illustration is one that they could understand.  “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)  This did not have anything to do with the Old Testament teaching this was about farming.  The more seeds you put in the ground the more you will reap. If you only sow a few seeds you will only reap a little. 
This is a great time of year for farmers because it is harvest time.  The other day I saw a field being harvested.  What a great feeling is must be to know that you spent money for seed, planted it in the ground, waited, and now you harvest, you are reaping the benefits.    
            Paul wants the church to know that we give as much as we can financially so that the harvest will be abundant.  Paul wants them to see the work of God flourish.   
We plant seeds of money when we give.  We plant seeds of time when we serve.  We plant seeds of grace when we pray.  We plant seeds of life when we use our skills and energy in God’s Kingdom.  We grow something when we give.     
            I someone to help me sow some seeds of money today.  I $10 that I want someone to give away today, to plant some seed of grace and love into a person’s heart. Who will help me plant a seed today?        
 
6.)        Cheerful Giving Pleases God            
            Listen to Paul’s word of encouragement to the people in the church.  “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  (2 Corinthians 9:7) Paul is reinforcing the importance of each person deciding what to give.  He offer this insight about God.  God loves a cheerful giver. 
God’s love was given to each of us through His Son Jesus Christ.  God is smiling and being cheerful when He gave us His Son!  Here is a picture of Jesus smiling.  Can you see Him smiling when he gave?   
            The word “cheerful” is only mentioned once in the New Testament and it is in 2 Corinthians 9:7.  The Greek word is “hilaros.”  This is the root of the word “hilarious.”  To be hilarious means to be funny, hysterical, rib-tickling, energetic, laughing.  Hilarious is full of fun energy and joy.      
            When Paul was teaching the church they might have read it like this; “God loves a hilarious giver.”  God loves it when people have joy, laughter and passion for fun when they give.  God smiles and laughs with those who smile and laugh when they give.    
            One way to think of this truth is to laugh when we take up an offering.  Let’s practice this.     
 
7.)        Thankfulness is Multiplied
            When we give money to God we do so out of a hilarious and thankful spirit.  That is the best way to give.  The Jews would understand the importance of telling God thanks for the harvest and the principle of the first fruits.  These Gentiles don’t have that basis.  Paul wants them to know that when you give best it is with a thankful spirit and the people that you give to are thankful too! 
“You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasions, through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”  (2 Corinthians 9:11, 12)
Thanks is multiplied in God’s Kingdom work; you and others are thankful.   
 
8.)        Mary Willis was the woman whose home the Mission Team had the privilege of working on in Tennessee.  We were thankful for the chance to clean her home, stain her deck and help in other ways.  We discovered that she was thankful for us coming.  Her thankful spirit caused her to make the team some fudge.  Thanksgiving was multiplied.  
            Karen Hamaker, the Camp Manager at Camp Lakewood, told me a story about some Bibles that a church had given to campers of a week of camp I was involved in.  There were some new Bibles left over and Karen gave those Bibles to some children who came to another camp without a Bible. They were touched by God’s love and grace and shared what they had learned with their mother.  They would read from the Bibles and their mother began reading the Bible.  These were children who were connected to the Rising Star ministry in our local schools.  Thanksgiving was multiplied.  Those who gave the Bible, the children, the mother, the church; all because of a gift.      
 
9.)        John D. Rockefeller learned gratitude and thanksgiving later in life and it literally transformed his life and many lives.  Thanksgiving was multiplied.     
“John D Rockefeller was the very first person to reach the status of billionaire.  He was a man who knew how to set goals and follow through. At the age of 23, he had become a millionaire, by the age of 50 a billionaire. Every decision, attitude, and relationship was tailored to create his personal power and wealth. But three years later at the age of 53 he became ill.  His entire body became racked with pain and he lost all the hair on his head. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest milk and crackers.
An associate wrote, "He could not sleep, would not smile and nothing in life meant anything to him." His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year.  That year passed agonizingly slow. As he approached death he awoke one morning with the vague remembrances of a dream. He could barely recall the dream but knew it had something to do with not being able to take any of his successes with him into the next world. The man who could control the business world suddenly realized he was not in in control of his own life.
He was left with a choice.  He called his attorneys, accountants, and managers and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research, and mission work. On that day John D. Rockefeller established his foundation. This new direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for current strains of malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. The list of discoveries resulting from his choice is enormous. 
But perhaps the most amazing part of Rockefeller’s story is that the moment he began to give back a portion of all that he had earned, his body’s chemistry was altered so significantly that he got better. It looked as if he would die at 53 but he lived to be 98.  Rockefeller learned gratitude and gave back from his wealth. Doing so made him whole. It is one thing to be healed it is another to be made whole.”
 
10.)      We learn about faith and finances in different ways.  Some of us need to focus on the basics of giving to God.  Some of us need to focus on the biblical foundations of money.  Some of us might need some good Christian financial counseling to help us get out of debt, live with less than we make, get some ideas on investing, how to plan for retirement, etc.  How can you be a steward of God’s resources for the Kingdom?     
            We are going to make decisions this week in regards to our financial giving as a part of our faith in Christ.  I pray that your faith in Jesus Christ would grow as a result of what you will do.     
Are you ready to take the step to give 10% of your income in 2016?  Are you ready to increase the percentage of your giving?  Are you ready to live with less?  Are you ready to get some financial help?  What is your next step?     
            Be prepared to sow seed, experience hilarity as you give and watch thankfulness be multiplied.