This APP is based on one simple principle … REALLOCATING ASSETS RELOCATES YOUR HEART
It’s focused on the subject matter of greed vs. generosity. It’s almost impossible to see in our own lives. In fact, it can be couched in terms of being a good steward, I’m a Saver.
With the hope of winning a record jackpot of $640 million, Americans spent an estimated $1.5 billion on tickets in a multi-state lottery in early 2012. The odds of winning were a staggering 1 in 176 million, but people stood in lines at grocery stores, gas stations, and cafes to buy a chance to become rich.
Something inside us makes us think more money will solve our problems and improve our lives. Greed is …
THE ASSUMPTION THAT EVERYTHING I HAVE IS FOR MY CONSUMPTION.
Greed is really not a financial issue. It’s a heart issue at the core. You may not be able to see it but others see it in your life. Look at Jesus’ warning …
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15 (NIV)
There is a kind of greed where your life equals the acquisition, hoarding and storing up of possessions. We fall prey to the idea that life equals more and more and more stuff. We are consumed by the idea that upgrading to the next bigger and better is where it’s at. (ENUF)
This impacts people around you because they feel like stuff is more important to you than they are. God calls this – GREED! And it’s not a financial problem.
How different are our attitudes when it comes to matters of spending versus giving?
Jesus teaches us how to get our hearts in shape as it relates to the matter of generosity & greed …
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)
This isn’t saying it’s wrong to save for college or a “rainy day”. He’s not saying we need to liquidate everything and live homeless on the streets. Later He will advocate for responsible living. He’s addressing those of us who are hoarders and are consumed by acquisition.
Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven is code for … give stuff away … liquidate … reallocate some of your possessions to others …
“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:33-34 (NIV)
What Jesus is saying is this: “If you want to know where your heart is then follow the money trail. Look through your bank account and see where your heart really is.”
Where is your heart today? It’s wherever your treasure is. If it’s in a boat or a house or your business or your clothes or your children or your family or your career, wherever your treasure is, that’s where your heart is. You see, every time I give to God, it moves me a little bit closer to Him. It not only makes me like Him, because God is a giver, it moves me closer to Him. It draws me closer because that’s where my treasure is.
THE WAY YOU STRIP YOUR HEART OF GREED IS TO MAKE SOME DECISIONS AND FOLLOW THROUGH ON THEM IN THE AREA OF GENEROSITY.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are GOOD, your whole body will be full of light.But if your eyes are BAD, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6:22-24 (NIV)
Jesus is using a word play … just as your eyes direct your body, you have the potential to use your treasure to direct your heart. Because your heart follows your treasure. Your heart doesn’t just have to be an indicator of where you are. It can also be an indication of where you’re going to be!
Good: it’s the only time in the New Testament this Greek word appears. Outside Biblical literature it is translated as “generous”. Essentially He’s saying, “If your eyes are generous then your whole body will be full of light.”
Then He refers to “bad” eyes and it’s the same word He uses in Matthew 20:15 (parable of the workers in the vineyard) where it’s translated as “envious.” Are you (your eyes) generous or envious?
“Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” Matthew 20:15 (NIV)
THE WAY YOU BREAK THE POWER OF GREED IS THROUGH PRIORITIZED, PERCENTAGE, PROGRESSIVE GIVING.
Before I fund my kingdom, I fund His kingdom! As my income increases, my percentage increases. Let’s consider what it looks like to lead generously …
In the Bible, the word “believe” is used 272 times. The word “pray” is used 371 times. The word “love” is used even more, 714 times, but the word “give” is used 2,161 times. Why do you think that that’s so?
1.Giving is the antidote to materialism.
You cannot buy happiness, but you can give it away.
“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
2.Giving will strengthen your faith.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10 (NIV)
This is the one place that God says, you can prove that I exist. He says try tithing. He says just give Me 10%and watch what I’ll do in return. Now, I want to encourage you to take God at His word. Take a step of faith. Accept the challenge. And if you are not tithing, start tithing as God has commanded us to do.
Now, of course, with all these promises in the Bible, there are premises. And God says, “You do this and I’ll do this.” And in this verse, He said, “You give and I’ll give to you.” Now, of course, we always say, “okay, God, You go first. You bless me and then I’ll give to You.” God says, “no, no, no. That doesn’t require any faith. You prime the pump. You go first.” Why? Because that requires faith. And what God is most pleased with is our faith.
3.Giving blesses you in return.
“There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.” Acts 20:35 (NJB)
Servant leaders are generous; they leverage the principle of sowing & reaping. You reap what you sow (Relationally, Morally, Physically, Financially, Educationally). Whatever you give out, you are going to get back. But more than that, you are going to get back even more because if you are generous with others, God says “I’m going to be generous with you.” If you are stingy, you are only hurting yourself. If you are not tithing, you are short-circuiting God’s blessing. And in giving, God wants to bless you back.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6 (NIV)
Four truths about sowing and reaping …
·We reap what we sow. ·We reap where we sow. ·We reap after we sow. ·We reap more than we sow.
We reap later and greater. This principle isn’t fair, just, balanced, even or 1-to-1. It can work for you or against you.
Consider these three ATTITUDES regarding how we give …
God invites you to give willingly.
“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have." 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV)
Paul is saying the amount isn’t important. What’s important is your attitude when you give. Reward for giving is based on the willingness, not on the wealth. It’s based on how you give, not how much you give. God doesn’t look at the amount you give. He looks at the amount left over. He looks at how much – He is evaluating your generosity not in light of how much you give, but how much you gave in light of how much He gave to you. That’s the comparison. So give willingly.
“You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT)
If you ever feel pressured to give, don’t do it. Because you don’t get any credit for it anyway. If you are giving reluctantly and you are giving under pressure, don’t give. He wants you to give willingly.
God invites you to give thankfully.
How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?” Psalm 116:12 (NIV)
You will never be able to repay God for all He’s done for you. If He never did one more thing for you, He’s already done so much for you today that you ought to give just out of gratitude the rest of your life.
“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” Luke 6:38 (MSG)
“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” 1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV)
God invites you to give joyfully.
“You should each give, then, as you have decided, not with regret or out of a sense of duty; for God loves the one who gives gladly.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (TEV)
God looks at our attitude. The word “cheerful” in the Greek is the word hilarios … hilarious. God wants us to be hilarious givers. In the New Testament, when they gave an offering, they had fun!
Note: Charity vs. Tithing … Tithing is undesignated. You come and you lay it at the feet of God and say, God, however YOU want this spent. Whenever I designate the giving, it’s not tithing.
Three Types Of Generous Leaders:
1. THE SPONTANEOUS GIVING LEADER
Many of us are very good at this. If that is your only type of giving, then you will be very limited in what you can give. This is the way most people give and they are limited because of it. (Good Samaritan & The boy with the 5 loaves and 2 fishes)
2. THE STRATEGIC GIVING LEADER (Percentage; Return the Tithe)
“But generous people plan to do what is generous, and they stand firm in their generosity.” Isaiah 32:8 (NLT)
3. THE SACRIFICIAL GIVING LEADER
Would others say you are a generous leader? What could you do to model generosity in more specific ways?
Below are a series of documents that are designed to help you grow as a generous person and as a leader. For those who teach about financial matters this is a small group series I created that encompasses all the key Biblical texts that focus on handling money wisely. These documents are my teaching notes (at the bottom of each set of notes I do my best to give credit if I extracted thoughts from others' sermons, books or blogs).