Growing In Generosity <br />Then he looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and he saw also a certain poor window putting in two mites. So he said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor window has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty has put in all the livelihood that she had.” LUKE 21:1-4<br />Jesus praises this window, not for giving away so much, but for keeping so little. Many people would call her foolish for giving away everything, but Jesus holds her up as an example of a truly generous giver, Jesus seems to measure generosity not by the amount we give, but by amount we keep!<br /> The Biblical giver should always asking important questions<br /><ul><li>How much should I give?
How much do I really need?</li></ul>The steward who is rich in the grace of giving realizes that the truly rich person is not the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least. The Biblical steward lives to give! His focus is not his own needs, but on the needs of a lost world, the Great Commission mandate, and the urgency of reaching the nations for Christ.<br />As you reflect on the story of this poor window, what would be God’s comment to you about your personal giving, or that of your organization or ministry?<br />THE JOY OF GENEROSITY<br />Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, always having sufficiency in all things, may have abundance for every god work.II CORINTHIANS 9:7-8<br />There is joy in generosity – perhaps no greater joy than to invest God – given resources into God’s goals and objectives for this hour in human history. The most generous people seem to be the most joyful people. Some people seem to think that joy is found accumulating wealth while others would argue that joy is found in the stuff of money can buy. Christian stewards have discovered that their greatest joy – true joy – comes from giving generously and strategically to God’s plan. And what a wonderful plan God has designed:<br /><ul><li>God provides all our resources. Everything is a gift from His hand.
His word guides us in the wise use. of those resources
We become partners with God in His redemptive work on earth.
We spend eternity with God and with every person we helped to reach with the gospel.</li></ul>Randy Alcorn wrote the following: “Of investments they say, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. ‘But in the case of the amazing return we can get on investments in God’s Kingdom, it is true. God himself guarantees it.<br />The generosity, joyful giver embraces the following principles:<br /><ul><li>God is the greatest giver of all. Everything we receive is from His hand.
God commands all Christians to be wise, generous stewards.
Biblical stewards understand the link between our possessions and our faith.</li></ul>Indentify the Disconnect: When someone does not embrace the joy of giving, what are some of the reasons hey do not give?<br />Can GOD TRUST US WITH HIS RESOURCES?<br />The Biblical steward must be trust worthy. In Luke 19, Jesus tells a story about a landowner who gave tree men some funds to spend, save, or invest. Each acted as he saw fit. When he the owner returned, each man (steward) gave an account of what he had done with the resources entrusted to him. Their individual stewardship was evaluated.<br />The men who increased what he had been entrusted to them received even more. One man failed to increase the owner’s resources. What he had was taken from him.<br />Several reasons could be argued as to why the third man failed the owner. The story seems to indicate the fear of failure was the number one problems. Laziness, disobedience, or procrastination could have compounded the problem.<br />Leaders must be wide and faithful stewards of the resources entrusted to them. This story seems to include people, finances, skills, time, and talents. When leaders use the resources wisely for the advancement of God’s kingdom, God rewards them and gives them even more resources. When they fail in their stewardship, they often lose the resources they have. This is a sobering truth, but one that leaders would do well to remember. Do you want more resources? If so, what are you doing with what you already have?<br />Paul taught us that leader invest resources like farms sow seed. (Read II Corinthians 9:6-11). Yes, stewardship is like farming. A good farmer generously sows seed in order to ensure abundant fall harvest. The farmer knows that abundant reaping begins with generously sowing. He knows that he cannot harvest what he has not planned<br />Many leaders, like the Corinthians, find it hard to invest resources. Often the problem is a scarcity mindset. They are paralyzed by fear. Leaders who are wide stewards are guided by faith. They have an abundance mindset. They believed these are enough seeds to be sown, and they are confident the harvest will come multiply the resources. Noticed the difference between the scarcity mindset and the abundance mindset:<br /> SCARCITPY MINDSET ABUNDACE MINDSET<br /><ul><li>Reactive 1. Proactive
Lives in fear 10. Lives by faith</li></ul>Paul encouraged generosity among the Corinthians by using the poverty-stricken church in Macedonia as his example of generosity. Even in their need, they had an abundance mindset. Note a few facts about the churches in Macedonia and their generous giving:<br />1. They had very limited financial resources.<br />2. They gave joyfully.<br />3. They gave beyond their ability.<br />4. They gave willingly , no coercion.<br />5. They desired partnership with Paul in the gospel.<br />6. They became an example for others to follow.<br />Is her another way to use tem, or do you need to change the way you are using them?How are you using them?Resources entrusted to YouEvaluate: What are the current resources that God has trusted to you? How are you currently using them? Should you be using them in any other way, or should you change the way you are using them? Take a moment to reflect on how you are using God’s resources.<br />The Remedy For Greed<br />Humans tend to be very self-centered. The world s full of people who are trying to accumulate everything they possibly can. As John Maxwell says, “Many individuals climb to the top of the ladder of success, only to discover that their ladder is leaning against the wrong building.” They have reached the top, but they are not satisfied. The more they have, the more they want.<br />This cycle of greed is broken in a person’s life when he discovers the joy of investing in others. A person is either “self-centered” or “others-centered”. A Christian becomes others-centered when he becomes Christ-centered. The Christ- controlled person will be passionate in his commitment to be like his Lord. He will become a generous person. Generosity will break the power of greed in his life.<br />Two Rich Men<br />In Luke, Chapter 18, we read an account of a rich young man who approached Jesus with a question about eternal life. The advice from Jesus seemed quite radical: Sell all you possess and give it to the poor, then come and follow Me. Jesus knew this man was possessed by greed. Notice his journey:<br /><ul><li>He wisely came to Jesus with a question.
Greed prevented him from making the commitment he desperately needed to make.
He held tightly to what he had and forfeited the greater gift that could have been his.
Earthly possessions were more important to him than eternal life.</li></ul>In the next chapter, Luke 19, we read about Zacchaeus, the chief collector. Like young ruler in Chapter 18, Zacchaeus was also rich. Notice his journey:<br /><ul><li>Zacchaeus desire to see Jesus.
He welcomed to give other generously.</li></ul>Growing Generous Givers<br />As a Christian leader, it is your responsibility and privilege to help your people develop generous, giving hearts. There are several key steps on this journey:<br /><ul><li>Ask God for wisdom received.
Provide specific opportunities for partnership in the gospel.</li></ul>COACHING MOMENT:<br />Sometimes there will be opportunities for others to invest in a compelling vision that will truly make an eternal difference. How do you coach your leaders to cast vision when speaking with others that could contribute and give? Here are some ways you could coach your team on how to cast vision when asking others to give.<br /> <br />