Big Idea: The secret of happiness comes from within but is expressed with open hands. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”. Proverbs 4:23 ESV Generosity begins in the heart.
Scripture: “forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure, you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37-38 ESV
Introduction. The story of the rich young ruler reveals his heart. He was a good and likeable man, and Jesus loved him, but he was bound up by a closed heart, and as a result, missed out on a relationship with God and the freedom that generosity gives.
Generosity in Thanksgiving
An attitude of gratitude opens the doors of the heavens
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Psalms 100:4 ESV
God created us to be thankful. Ingratitude comes from our fallen nature.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
Thanksgiving set Jonah free from bondage.
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. Jonah 2:8-10 ESV
Jesus’ thankfulness came before a miracle provision
And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. Matthew 14:19 NIV
Thankfulness, despite the storm, came before Paul’s freedom
Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. Acts 27:35 NASB
Thankfulness in the middle of emotional pain and rejection was the key to David’s faith.
But I am afflicted and in pain; May Your salvation, O God, set me securely on high. I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the Lord better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs. Psalm 69:29-31 NASB
Generosity in Forgiving
There is no limit to the number of times we are to forgive others.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22 NIV
Forgiving those who’d hurt and offended him, prepared Joseph for a miraculous future.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. ” Genesis 45:4-8 NIV
Forgiving our debtors frees us from self-imprisonment.
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:23-34 NIV
And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:34-35 ESV
Forgiving our families who’ve hurt us opens new doors of opportunity
“… yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul–an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus– I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains…So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” Philemon 1
Forgiveness opens the doors to heaven.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:58-60 NIV
Forgiveness is not complete until we forgive ourselves.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10-11 NIV
Generosity in Giving
Generosity is an act of worship, as when Israel prepared to construct the Tabernacle
They said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more. Exodus 36:5-7 ESV
Giving generously credits our own account.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. Philippians 4:13-17 ESV
Generosity must be proportionate to what we have been given.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4 ESV
Generosity is an attitude that transcends simply giving money.
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. Luke 10:33-34 ESV
Generosity opens up the door to the impossible.
One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many? … Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. John 6:8-11 ESV
Generosity is proof of our transformation.
And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. Luke 19:8-9 ESV
Conclusion. Generosity, whether in thanksgiving, forgiving or giving from our resources, is at the heart of the New Covenant. The promise to generous people is that there will be an increase of harvest and that it leads to thanksgiving.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the Sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:6-12ESV