“Contagious Generosity” – That’s What I Want to Exhibit When I Give!

Photo of a Collection Plate

People get all messed up about money. One of the big complaints today about churches is “all they ever talk about is money.” Objective analysis, however, of that assertion reveals it is simply not true!  The fact is that many who make that claim are very preoccupied with money themselves.

When an opportunity to give is presented how do we respond… with griping?  Or do we respond with greatness of heart and glad generosity?

I thought about that this morning as I read an account in the Bible of what I would call “contagious generosity.”  Here’s what the Bible records…

“Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, ‘This is the thing that the Lord has commanded.  Take from among you a contribution to the Lord.  Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the Lord’s contribution… Then all the congregation of the people of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.  And they came everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments.  So they came both men and women.  All who were of a willing heart… every man dedicating an offering… and everyone who possessed something… Everyone who could make a contribution… Every skillful woman brought what they had made… And the leaders brought… All the men and women whose heart moved them… they brought it as a freewill offering to the Lord.”  (From Exodus 35:1-29)

And here’s “contagious generosity” exhibited in the New Testament: “I want you to know about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty over flowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.  For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints – and this not as we expected, but they give themselves for to the Lord and by the will of God to us.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)

No grousing, no complaining, no reluctance… moved by a generous heart and a willing spirit they responded to the need and the Lord’s command!  I want my giving always to be characterized by that!  Here it what Apostle Paul urged: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver!” (7 Corinthians 9:7) … “Contagious generosity” – that’s what we need, not “griping givers!”  People who see a need, and listen to the Lord, and allow their hearts to move them to generosity.  I want to be that kind of giver!

Freedom from guilt and shame!! It’s possible!! Read… more than that, PRAY Psalm 25

Freedom.jpegRegrets! Shame! Guilt! …Tyrants that can destroy confidence, conscience, freedom and self-concept! The tragedy is the wounds are so often self-inflicted! At other times, it is the assaults, activities, and words of others that leave us deeply wounded!

What to do about it? Can anything decisive be done about it beyond what is simply suppression or just a psychological band aid?

Yes! A thousand times Yes! God can do something about it! (I know, because He’s done it for me and many others!)

I read Psalm 25 this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” and thought about the battle some of you wage daily with these negative, destructive feelings! If you’re struggling with these kinds of feelings, I’m urging you – no, more than that, I’m imploring you to read, reflect on, AND PRAY Psalm 25 personally!

Here’s just a taste of what it has to say…

“To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul! Oh my God, in you I trust! Let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me! … Make me to know Your ways, O Lord! Teach me Your paths! Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation for You I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O Lord, and Your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. REMEMBER NOT THE SINS OF MY YOUTH OR MY TRANSGRESSIONS! According to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of you goodness, O Lord! … FOR YOUR NAME’S SAKE, O LORD, PARDON MY GUILT FOR IT IS GREAT! … Turn to me and be gracious to me for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged. Bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble AND FORGIVE ALL MY SINS! … Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you! (Selected verses from Psalm 25)

Does it work, you ask? I am telling you it does – I’ve tried it! And what’s more, here is what God’s word declares…”If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. BUT IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE [GOD!] IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS!” (1 John 1:8-9)

“The Lord is my Shepherd” – How good is that!?

“The Lord is my shepherd!” – What a wonderful, comforting affirmation and declaration! I’ve been relishing it – tasting every delicious significance of it that I can, rolling it over and over on my spiritual palate – ever since I read it this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord.” (Psalm 23)

He is MY shepherd personally, but He also shepherds a flock for which He cares deeply… but He knows each one of those He shepherds by name (and they respond to His voice when He calls their name – check out John 10:1-16). He’s the “good shepherd” and He lays down His life for His sheep (also declared by Jesus in John 10)! In fact, if I have the Lord as my Shepherd (and I do) “I shall not want” – in other words I have everything I need! … And then Psalm 23 gets specific about what that involves…

He provides all the nourishment I need – I “lie down in green pastures!”

He leads me to the refreshment my soul craves – “beside still waters”

He “restores my soul” – when I am spent and ready to give up!

He leads and guides me in the “right paths” that He wants me to take

He comforts and reassures me when I’m afraid – when I face frightening “valleys as dark as death!”

Even when surrounded by enemies and adversaries He provides and protects me – He “prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies!”

When wounded, He cares for my pain and hurts – He “anoints my head with oil”

Everything I need! – everything I could want! – everything my soul craves for! … “My cup overflows! Goodness and mercy follow me every day (every step) of my life” with the Lord as my Shepherd!

Oh, and when this life is over? “I will dwell in the house of the Lord FOREVER!” (Read Revelation 21-22 it will blow you mind! John 14:1-6a is awesome too… This is what our “Good Shepherd declared: “I am the way, and the truth and the life!”

I gotta tell you… I’m following Him! “The Lord is my Shepherd!”



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