Attitudes About Giving

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A Giving Church #1

Attitudes About Giving

By Bill Denton


A.  I'm going to interrupt the sermon series from the book of Colossians - we will return to that

      series of lessons in January

1.  November and December are months that provide the opportunity for us to think

     about some important issues

2.  It gives us a chance to talk about some things people need to hear

B.  During November, we're going to take a look at giving

1.  The truth is we don't talk about giving very much

a.  I once preached for a congregation that studied the topic of stewardship and

     giving every 4th quarter of every year

b.  they even repeated some studies every few years, and had been doing this for

     about 10 years - you'd think people would have tired of this emphasis on

     money, giving, and Christian responsibility, but they didn't

c.  I will have to admit that this was probably the most generous, most giving

     church I've ever been associated with, and I have to attribute it to the fact that

     they were serious students of the subject

C.  Many Christians do not like sermons on giving

1.  Some feel they are put on a guilt trip

2.  Some feel that too many sermons on giving reflects a greedy attitude

3.  Some do not like to be challenged to move beyond their financial comfort zone

4.  Some folks are just stingy and don't want to part with their money

D.  The fact is that the Bible has more to say on the subjects of money and giving than just

     about any other topic

1.  If that much space is given to a subject, it must be important

2.  Guilt trips are not our purpose, and I believe this congregation's reputation will

    withstand any accusation of greed

3.  The simple truth is that giving is important, both to the giver and to the recipient, so

     we will begin today with a look at some attitudes about giving

I.  Let's Set The Stage For Studying Giving

A.  A person's attitude is one of the determining factors in whatever a person does

1.  Defined:  a state of mind or feeling; disposition -- a frame of mind affecting one's

     thoughts or behavior

2.  Everybody's got an attitude, and most of us have a variety of attitudes depending on

     the subject under discussion

B.  Illustration

A daughter complained to her father about how hard things were for her. "As soon as I solve one problem," she said, "another one comes up. I'm tired of struggling."

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen where he filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second, eggs, and in the last, ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After a while, he went over and turned off the burners. He fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them a bowl. He poured the coffee into a bowl. Turning to her he asked, "Darling, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled, as she tasted its rich flavor.

She asked, "What does it mean, Father?" He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity—boiling water—but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg was fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. By being in the boiling water, they changed the water.

He asked his daughter, "When adversity knocks on your door, which are you?"

            From the Internet; submitted by Eric Reed, managing editor, Leadership Journal

1.  I submit to you that a person's attitude is often the determining factor in what he or

     she becomes

2.  This is certainly true when it comes to giving

a.  your attitude will determine how you receive what is said about giving

b.  your attitude will determine how you respond, if you will change, what you

     will do with what you learn

c.  your attitude may be more important than what the scriptures say!

II.  Attitudes Of People In The Bible About Money And Possessions

A.  The bad attitude of the rich young ruler

1.  Mark 10:17-22 17As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt

     before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

     18And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God

     alone. 19“You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery,

     Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and

     mother.’ ” 20And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth

     up.” 21Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack:

     go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven;

     and come, follow Me.” 22But at these words he was saddened, and he went away

     grieving, for he was one who owned much property. NASB95

2.  The most obvious question one could ask is this:  why did the fact that he owned

     much property explain his sadness when Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and

     give to the poor?

a.  it seems he was serious about his religion and his desire for eternal life

b.  but he was more serious about his possessions

c.  so far, neither his religion nor his quest for eternal life had required anything

     from him, so it was an easy pursuit

3.  The young man had made wealth and possessions more important than God

a.  few of us like to believe we could fall into the same trap

b.  perhaps we should make a soul-searching inventory of how strongly our

     "things" possess us

B.  The bad attitude of Judas

1.  John 12:3-6 3Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and

    anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled

    with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was

    intending to betray Him, said, 5“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred

    denarii and given to poor people?” 6Now he said this, not because he was concerned

    about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to

    pilfer what was put into it. NASB95

2.  Judas looked at Mary's gift as a waste, not because he was concerned for the poor,

    but because it prevented him from getting his hands on it

a.  the Bible says Judas was a thief, stealing from the money box

b.  his was a selfish, self-centered attitude still present in some people today

C.  The attitude of Barnabas

1.  Acts 4:36-37 36Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas

    by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37and who owned a

    tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. NASB95

2.  At a time when the church endured a great deal of need, those who owned property

    began to sell it to help the needy

a.  among those who did so was Barnabas - whose name meant "son of


b.  how fitting that Barnabas, the encourager, serves in precisely that role

1) one wonders if it was Barnabas' example that motivated others

2)  in some way, he was a stand-out Christian, willing to share

3.  Contrast Barnabas to the rich young ruler

a.  Barnabas seems to have done willingly what the rich young ruler rejected

b.  Barnabas had a commendable attitude toward giving, and his example

     identified the example needed in us

D.  The attitude of the poor widow

1.  Mark 12:41-44 41And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how

    the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in

    large sums. 42A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to

    a cent. 43Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor

    widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 44for they all put in out of

    their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”


2.  This is perhaps the greatest example of giving in the Bible

a.  it's great because it demonstrates such a positive, willing attitude

b.  it's great because it proves that giving is not limited by one's possessions

c.  it's great because it is completely unexpected, based on a different standard

d.  it's great because it puts God-honoring giving within the reach of all

e.  it's great because the widow shames that which otherwise appears generous

f.  it's great because she alone demonstrates sacrifice

E.  The attitude of the Macedonian Christians

1.  2 Corinthians 8:1-5 1Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God

    which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2that in a great ordeal of

    affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of

    their liberality. 3For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability,

    they gave of their own accord, 4begging us with much urging for the favor of

    participation in the support of the saints, 5and this, not as we had expected, but they

    first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. NASB95

2.  Here are Christians who serve as a positive example of giving

a.  they gave in the midst of affliction and poverty

b.  they gave according to their ability and beyond their ability

c.  they gave willingly, actually begging for the opportunity to give

d.  here's the key to the whole thing - they first gave themselves to the Lord

3.  Illustration

On the wall of President Lyndon Johnson's White House office hung a framed letter written by General Sam Houston to Johnson's great-grandfather, Baines, more than 100 years earlier. Baines had led Sam Houston to Christ. Houston was a changed man, no longer coarse and belligerent but peaceful and content.

The day came for Houston to be baptized—an incredible event for those who knew him. After his baptism, Houston offered to pay half the local minister's salary. When someone asked him why, he said, "My pocketbook was baptized too."  --  Randy Alcorn, The Law of Rewards (Tyndale, 2003), p. 12

1.  Is it possible we've got folks with unbaptized pocketbooks?

2.  When you have truly given yourself to the Lord, your own personal, selfish

     purposes ought to disappear into the purposes of God


A.  Let me say again, what is taught about giving, as with any other topic, will find a positive

     home in positive people; it will find a negative home in negative people - your attitude is key

B.  Only you can determine how you will respond to the subject of giving

C.  Let's pray together and ask God to soften our hearts that we might be a generous people

D.  Invitation

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