Friday, May 20, 2011

Generosity that Pays

"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and will be repaid in full." Prov. 19:17

"Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want.  A generous person will be enriched and one who gives water will get water.  The people curse those who hold back grain, but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it."  Prov. 11:24-26

Last Sunday, the ideas that come from these two passages formed the core of the sermon I preached.

Here are some conclusions and suggestions.

1.  Giving to the poor, to those who may never be able to pay you back, is the wisest possible use of your money.   Apparently it's just good business... on an eternal scale.

2. Riches and poverty (that is, suffering want) are much more about mentality.  Jesus called the poverty mentality "worshipping mammon."  We call it "Materialism."  The short form of this mentality is the lie that there is never enough.  Try for some perspective.  Here you learn where your income ranks on a global scale.  Minimum wage in Colorado, working full time, yields 15,300/year.

3. If kindness to the poor is the best kind of generosity (so says Prov. 14:20-21, 31; 17:5; 19:17; 21:13; 22:9, 16, 22-23; 28:8, 27; 29:7; and 29:14), then we must open our eyes and learn who the poor are (try

4. Imitate God.  He showed generosity to the poor by adopting us (Rom. 8:12-17).  Seriously and prayerfully consider adopting a child.

5. If adoption is impossible or unwise, then sponsor as many children as you can.  You can sponsor children through these excellent agencies: (food for the hungry)

6. Generously and sacrificially support gospel-centered, strategic efforts to care for the poor.  Groups like world vision are incredibly skillful at stretching dollars to impact lives.

7. Go back and see #4 again.  I was and am serious.  It is terrifying that Christians in this country consider it a better use of money to spend on luxuries when there are hundreds of millions of children in dire need of a stable home.

This coming Sunday, I intend to present Proverbs' perspective on provision - especially provision through the wise lifestyle of faithful, committed, WORK.  This is God's means of provision for his people.  And he provides so that we can be like him and provide.

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