Blessed Builders: A Cheerful Giver
Blessed Builders: A Cheerful Giver
Opening Illustration: Giving It All Away
An Irish-American billionaire who kept his philanthropy secret for 15 years has given away $7.5billion (£4.9billion) - and plans for it all to go to charity before his dies.
He has given away 99 per cent of his fortune to health, science, education and civil rights causes around the world through his Atlantic Philanthropies foundation.
His generosity went unknown until 1997 and he even made charities keep the source of their donations secret because he did not want the attention.
Feeney's 'giving while living' philosophy inspired Bill and Melinda Gates to set up their charitable foundation as well as Warren Buffet's Giving Pledge, where some of the richest people in the world have promised to give away half of their fortune during their lifetime.
The fund has handed out $6.2billion in three decades and will close in 2020 once its last good causes have been chosen.
'People who have money have an obligation,' Feeney told Forbes last year. 'I wouldn’t say I’m entitled to tell them what to do with it but to use it wisely.'
Feeney, who was raised by Catholic parents in an Irish-American New Jersey neighbourhood during the Depression, preferred to use his influence and connections during his lifetime rather than letting his money be frittered away after his death.
'I became convinced that there was greater satisfaction from giving my money away and seeing something come out of the ground, like a hospital or a university,' he told the Financial Times last year.
'It just seemed logical to put the money to good use rather than putting it into a bank account and letting it accumulate and accumulate.'
His intention is for all of his money to be gone by the times he goes. He told the New York Times: 'I want the last check I write to bounce'.
It is impossible to separate giving from the Christian faith. A common thread of generosity runs through every great Biblical character. Jesus, the focal point of our faith, was the model of giving. Jesus gave to the disciples and to the crowds. He gave to “Caesar what belonged to Caesar.” He gave His life on the cross. Yet, many believers lose spiritual power in their lives because they give with a grudge. They give conservatively. They are cautious with their giving as if it is a bad investment or if it was actually their money in the first place. Remember God loves a cheerful giver.
Are you a Conservative Giver? A Cautious Giver? Are You A Cheerful Giver?
Nehemiah 12:44-47 (NIV)
44At that time men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for the contributions, firstfruits and tithes. From the fields around the towns they were to bring into the storerooms the portions required by the Law for the priests and the Levites, for Judah was pleased with the ministering priests and Levites. 45 They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did also the singers and gatekeepers, according to the commands of David and his son Solomon. 46 For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the singers and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 So in the days of Zerubbabel and of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions for the singers and gatekeepers. They also set aside the portion for the other Levites, and the Levites set aside the portion for the descendants of Aaron.
I. What Contributes To A Cheap Christian?
A. A Disingenuous “Not Me…But You” Attitude
What do I mean here? Some Christians look at giving like investing in the stock market. If the stock is hot, then invest. If not, hold the money close. They think this thought, “what is a good investment for you may not be a good investment for me.” What a terrible attitude. The Lord expects and requires us to give. Jesus said to His disciples, “when you give” not “if you give”. Hence, Christian giving is not optional, but rather essential. Giving is a command for every believer.
"So when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrites do in the houses of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full.
B. A Dulled (Jaded) Attitude
How many of us has said the following, “I would give if I was sure that they wouldn’t waste the money.” We usually say that in regards to the poor or needy. Yet, there is an attitude towards the church. The church may not spend the money the way you want therefore you choose not to give. The Lord wants us to practice benevolent and chartable giving. Remember, we are to guard our hearts. Let God guard His money.
2 "So when you give something to a needy person, do not make a big show of it, as the hypocrites do in the houses of worship and on the streets. They do it so that people will praise them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 3 But when you help a needy person, do it in such a way that even your closest friend will not know about it.
C. A Demanding Attitude
So, you think the money in your bank account belongs to you? You earned it. You deserve it. You demand it. Many Christians operate under the false illusion that the materials they have in their possession actually belong to them. How silly. God owns it all. You have simply been interested with the wealth for a short time. Remember, you are merely a steward of what God has interested to you.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
II. How Can We Move From Cheap To Charitable? Use Proverbs 3:27 As A Model!
Proverbs 3:27 (NIV)
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
A. Heed The Command-"Do not"
I John 5:3 (NIV)
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
B. Feature Charity- "withhold good"
Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
C. The Call Is Comprehensive- " from those to whom it is due"
Galatians 6:10 (NIV)
"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
D. You Have A Choice
Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
It’s All About Time, Talents and Treasures!