Where Giving Ends or Begins

Are you a giver? Let me share two thoughts that review the last two weeks of our The Giver series – then I will jump into the challenge from this week.

Giving begins with stewardship.
    Meaning you must make the decision to be generous before the opportunity exists. You must live in a way that allows you to give.
Giving requires us to give our stuff.
    Generosity requires sacrifice. You have to give up some stuff. I am not just talk about tithing. I am talking about day in and day out. I will challenge with this idea about tithing though. Your church will never be more generous than its members…it will never give more than you do. The generosity of the church is often lost in the disobedience of its members. Are you obeying?

This week I talked about the issue that makes giving truly difficult. I call it the crux of giving. It is the breaking or making point. This is the issue that will either begin your life of generosity or it will end it. The passage is Luke 14:25-35. You might want to read it real quick to get some context. Click on the Scripture for a link to it.

Giving costs us…us. Giving costs you…you. Giving costs me…me.

That is the crux of giving. This passage is not heresy it is hyperbole. We are not literally to hate our wives and kids, yet we are to love God so completely and passionately that it seems as if we hate those that we love in comparison. I do find it interesting that in this passage Jesus says that the things we say define being a Christ follower never define what it means to be a Christ follower. Being a good husband is not Christ following. People who do not believe in Jesus at all do it every day. The pinnacle of your Christ following is not at your house…that is where it begins.

So the world tells us to live every day to fullest but in this passage we are told to hate our own life. The Bible says Die every day to the fullest.

Die to the fullest. Die as much as you can. Carry as big a cross as you can. Don’t decorate your life with the cross, dedicate your life to the cross.

So the passage tells us we need to count up the cost and follow. We must understand what we must do as Christ followers and do them and that if we don’t we mess up manure.

So if you don’t want to mess up manure with your life, understand what Christ-following does look like.

Take the responsibility of carrying your cross and following Jesus.
Have the priority of Christ. The priority of our life.
Give the totality of yourself.
Experience the vitality of sacrifice.
    There is no life where there is no sacrifice. I challenge you to consider the times in life you have been the most generous..have you ever felt more alive?

So are you the giver? Or are you the givee?

It begins and ends with you. You have to give all of yourself to give any of yourself. So if you are not the giver, the real problem is not stuff or service…it is self.

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