Friday, November 9, 2012

Givers and Takers. Part one: The Generous Church

God has always encouraged 'giving' over 'taking'.

Throughout the Scriptures, you see this value spoken and lived out.

From Leviticus 23: And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the cornerof your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger. I am the Lord your God."

From Deuteronomy 15:  " generous and lend them whatever they need.  Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need." 

to Psalm 37: "The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers."

to Proverbs 11: "The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed."

Then, in the New Testament we read...

Luke 6:38: "Giveand it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

Acts 4: 34-35: "There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need."

Bottom Line: God wants His people to be generous givers. He does NOT want us to hoard our stuff, sit on our money and congratulate ourselves (see, for example, Luke 12:16-21). 

In fact, He goes so far as to say..."You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others." (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)

The Church is to be one of the most generous organizations on Earth, and it HAS BEEN!

Over the centuries the Church of Jesus Christ has been exceedingly generous.

It has, in fact, influenced whole countries to be so.

I believe, for example, that the generosity of the Church, and it's influence over America is one big reason that the United States has historically been the most generous nation on earth!

But something has happened, in both the Church, and in the country, that is changing that.

What is it that has changed?

Check out the next 2 days' posts to find out!

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