Today we began a new series called “Why Bother?” at Gateway Church in Austin. John Burke shared the following points:
“Today we’re talking about Why Bother Giving? At Gateway we do not ever want someone to give out of guilt or feeling pressure. Just the opposite, every week we try to take the pressure off. We do this because of the heart of God—God gives first. He doesn’t demand anything from us before he gives all he has to give!
Jesus said, “Freely you received, so freely give.” That’s the upside down principle of God’s economy which isn’t the way the world typically works.
Let’s walk through what the Scriptures teach about why we should bother giving:
1. To Become Generous People.
Statistically the more prosperous America has become, the less generous we’ve become. We’re better off than our parents, yet during the boom earlier this decade, we gave less than Americans did during the Great Depression.
In a survey conducted by NPR, they discovered that no matter how much or how little people made— they all needed a little more, and the amount was about the same %: They all said, ‘I need 23% more and that would be enough.’ We never seem to be satisfied!
Getting more will never make you more generous, only giving more will do that, because it’s not an amount issue, it’s a heart and priority issue.
God already told us this 3000 years ago: “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 5:10
God doesn’t force generosity but calls us to become cheerful givers.
2. To Love God.
Have you ever considered why God doesn’t force obedience? He asks for it as a way for us to demonstrate that we love and trust Him. Jesus said, ‘Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.’ – John 14:21
We have nothing to give to God other than what He’s already given to us, but He gives to us and then trusts us and asks, rather than demands, as a way to test our love. God set this principle of giving back at the beginning of recorded history. Before the law of Moses, in 4000BC Abraham gave a tenth to the priest Melchizedech. To Moses in 3500 BC, God says “One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him.” – Leviticus 27:30
There’s nothing wrong with wealth–it’s a gift from God if you are wealthy (which we are by global standards even if we don’t feel like it), but wealth has this power to suck us into a trap of pride or becomes what we trust rather than trusting God. (Also see Proverbs 3:9 and Malachi 3:10)
3. To Invest in Something Lasting.
Jesus once talked about when we use our time and our money to do good in this world where we will never be repaid in this life. But “…you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” – Luke 14:14. (See also Matthew 6:20-21).
Now, I know our generation well enough to know this—many of you want to be generous, but you feel like you can’t. I want to challenge you to test God—for three months. Instead of reacting in fear, step out in faith. Some of you are out of work — you really can’t. Do this, tell God, ‘You provide income and I’ll tithe from the first of all you provide.’ And watch what happens— test him—but when he does, respond in faith, not fear.
God is generous and he wants to help us become like Him.”
To watch or listen to the entire message, go to www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.