Big Idea: An open heart is expressed with open hands of generosity. Closed hands inhibit fruitfulness, while open hands lead to a bountiful harvest.

Scripture: And in his teaching he said, Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at feasts, who devour widowshouses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.  And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.  And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:38-44 ESV

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.

Many rich people put in large sums.  And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.  And he called his disciples to him and said to them, Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had. Mark 12:40-44 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 Peters 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 9:6-12 ESV