Inspiration of Generosity

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12 September, 2021Pastor Mark SchultzAuthentic Generosity

When the going gets tough, Australians step up! That's the finding of a survey conducted to ascertain the impact of crisis on the public's propensity to give. What it discovered was Australians are inspired to go above and beyond their normal giving in times of drought, bushfire and flood. But what about when crisis hits the whole community, like we are experiencing in these sustained pandemic times? When things get tight, giving seems unwise or even impossible. 

That's what makes the giving of the Macedonian church even more inspiring. They were going through some tough times and Paul notes their “severe trial” and “extreme poverty.” They had almost nothing to spare. And yet, they begged Paul for the privilege of giving and gave generously, “even beyond their ability." What inspired their generosity even when they had nothing and were under pressure themselves? That's what we will explore today as we focus on 'The Inspiration of Generosity'. It's an attitude and posture that can help you "excel" in your giving too.

#2 in series: "Authentic Generosity"

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

In a world that values Go-getters, God is calling you to be a Go-giver! Generosity is the proof of love and an expression of the gospel in action.

  1. Share a time when someone’s generosity inspired you?
  2. Generosity attracts generosity. In what ways?
  3. Generosity is an expression of the gospel in action. How have you experienced or witnessed that in your own life?
  4. What needs to change in your life for you to become a Go-giver?

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More from 'Authentic Generosity'

Administration of Generosity

19 September, 2021 Pastor Mark Schultz

In our world of conflicting arguments and competing narratives, of fake news & conspiracy theories…Whom do you trust?

I’ll trust a pilot to get me from A to B on time & in 1 piece. I’ll trust a Doctor, dentist, hair stylist once…sometimes I have no choice. But if I really have skin in the game…I want to know who I am dealing with. Trust is personal. Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose.

So when Paul encourages the disciples of Jesus in Corinth to give generously toward helping people they’ve never met and from whom they are unlikely to receive a return, he wants to make sure they trust his motives and his mission. Trust is personal.

Paul assures the Corinthians they can rely on his integrity and those chosen to assist in his ministry. They can count on the gifts they give reaching the destination he has promised. They can trust Paul, because they’ve been entrusted by God with rich blessings, and an eternal promise.

Living generously is not a spur of the moment, spontaneous, off the cuff reactive impulse to a pressure situation. It’s a well-planned, wisely administered proactive lifestyle that arises out of the deep convictions you have about God’s love for you and his commission to demonstrate that love to others. The careful, transparent, spiritual administration of the grace of generosity is critical to seeing generosity flow where God wants it to have the most transforming influence. So join us for this deep lesson of discipleship as we explore the administration of generosity.

#3 in series: Authentic Generosity