Seize The Blessing in Giving

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“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  At some time in Jesus’ public ministry He stated these recorded words.  Jesus also taught, “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure ye mete withal it shall be measured unto you” (Luke 6:38).
The Principle
Luke 6 records the Sermon on the Plain– a sermon similar in some respects to the Sermon on the Mount, but delivered at a different time and place.  In the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus develops the principle of reciprocity.  There are five elements referenced:  be merciful, obtain mercy; judge not, be not judged; condemn not, be not condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; and give and it shall be given unto you.  The principle is:  with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  There is a positive and negative aspect to this principle.  The positive aspect involves blessing:  God’s rewards fit the good deeds of men.  The negative aspect is cursing: God’s judgments fit the crimes of men.
The Principle Applied To Giving
In 2 Cor. 9:6-8, Paul teaches, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”  Giving does not diminish us.  Instead, it empowers us.  When we consider that “power” is the ability to do work, especially the work of God, then our selfless giving increases our ability to do the work God’s has given to us.  Generous giving does not impoverish us, it enriches us.  Purposed giving reflects the intent of the heart as well as the selflessness that characterizes the heart.  When we give selflessly, we give resentment free and consequently we have great joy in giving.  Where love is present joy abounds.  Giving is a measure of your heart.  The amount you give serves as a standard made by you for you.  Once that standard has been established by your heart, then, God responds in like kind either rewarding you or condemning you.
The Greatness of God’s Grace
God’s grace is greater than any amount of our giving.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”  You cannot out-give God!  Be generous in your giving because God’s grace can supply you with all things that make you abound unto every good work.  As God blesses you through His grace, your ability to do His work and fulfill His purposes is enhanced.  Take God’s increased blessings and accomplish even more for His name’s sake.  God can and will use you to accomplish His purposes and you will become a channel of blessing to others. Your giving prompts God’s grace!  Herein lies the blessing in giving and why Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

A Grateful Heart

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Consider some thoughts from II Cor. 9:11-15.  Paul focuses on the contribution that he has been collecting for the poor saints and others in Judea.  He mentions four key concepts:  grace, gratitude, generosity and glorification of God.  As he develops each of these concepts, he defines a grateful heart.
A Grateful Heart is God-Centered
A grateful heart recognizes God as the ultimate source of every good and every perfect gift (James 1:17).  A grateful heart readily admits dependence upon God.  Ingratitude insists upon self-sufficiency rather than God-sufficiency.  God enriches us with a bounty of blessings.  His infinite goodness is freely manifested in the wonderful riches that He gives to us.  This includes both physical and spiritual blessings.  The chief gift that God gives is His Son (II Cor. 9:15).  Ingratitude breeds independence from God rather than dependence on God. Simply put, the ungrateful do not see their need of God.  However, they could not live even a single day without God.  Ingratitude shows a heart that has forgotten God.  This was the very thing that Moses warned Israel about in Deut. 8:6-20.
A Grateful Heart Is a Humble Heart
Those who despise God’s goodness manifest impenitence (Rom. 2:4-6).  Unbelief produces impenitence.  Impenitence is due to man’s pride.  Unbelief, impenitence and pride produce ingratitude.  Gratitude shows humility.  Humility leads to a recognition of the need for God and the redemption that He supplies through Jesus Christ.  Godly sorrow precedes repentance (II Cor. 7:10).  Repentance precedes reconciliation to God.  Through reconciliation to God we can stand in His divine favor (grace).
A Grateful Heart is a Devoted Heart
Thanksgiving to God is manifested in praise and prayer.  Praise and prayer are integral elements of our worship of God.  In praise and prayer, God is glorified.  Worship is an act of gratitude to God.  The ungrateful do not draw nigh to God.  They fail to see any connection between who they are and what they have acquired and God.
A Grateful Heart is a Generous Heart
Paul writes concerning “this ministration” i.e. the work of gathering a contribution to help the poor saints and others in Judea.  The church became a channel of blessing to others.  The generosity of the churches resulted in many thank to God and God was glorified.  Ingratitude robs God of the glory due His name.  Ingratitude leads to selfishness and others suffer because of the failure to show a generous spirit.
A Grateful Heart is a Compassionate Heart
A grateful heart is a warm heart.  A grateful heart is full of compassion.  A compassionate heart can be moved by the needs of others.  Ingratitude produces cold heartedness.   Remember Scrouge?  Scrouge was miserly, stingy, cold hearted and lonely.  His greed isolated him from others and produced a darkness in his soul.
The Greatest Gift
The greatest gift deserves the greatest thanks.  God gave His Son.  Jesus gave His life for us.  This spiritual windfall leaves us speechless.  “But thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.”  Through God’s grace we are enriched unto all bountifulness.  God’s grace produces a grateful heart.  This is the heart of a Christian!