Lifeworks Values Series: Generous Giving

Sunday 1st July 2018
Lifeworks Values Series: Generous Giving
Rev. Tim Griggs

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Message

There’s an old story about a dad who gave his son 2 coins as they walked to church. He told the boy that
he should give one coin in the offering and he could keep the other for an ice cream on the way home.
As the boy walked down the street, he accidentally dropped one of the coins into a storm drain.
The boy looked down the drain for a moment and then slowly looked toward the sky, sighed and
said, “Well God, there goes your coin”.

As we have mentioned, today we start our series on our Lifeworks values. In no particular order, we
begin by looking at Generous Giving. How we can have an spirit of generosity in all of our life. How can
we have an attitude of generous giving.

Did you know that in 1995, generosity was illegal in Santa Cruz, California? It was illegal for someone
to put money in other people’s parking meters without their permission. The practice called “plugging
coins” was considered an illegal act by Santa Cruz Council. The fine for a parking violation was $12.
The penalty for “plugging coins” was $13.

Cory McDonald, was a professional clown and balloon twister in the Santa Cruz area- his ‘stage name
was Mr Twister’. He would regularly put coins in expired parking meters. After several warnings, Mr.
McDonald was ticketed for his random acts of illegal kindness. However, he refused to stop doing what
he said was “doing to others as he would have them do to him”. He called the law, ‘the Anti-Good
Samaritan Law’.

When it hit national US media, and the public began to criticise the law, the Santa Cruz City Council
(Mayor and Councillors) removed the law immediately. All Mr. McDonald ever really wanted was for
people to be nice to each other and help in whatever way they can. Mr McDonald simply wanted people
to share kindness and generosity to each other.

Generous giving is not something that we do because we have to, we do because we want to. Not an
obligated giving because we are required to, but a heartfelt desire to give because God first gave to us.
Being generous in spirit, generous in our heart and attitude, generous in our giving. Not because it
hurts, but because it pleases God, and blesses us. Give generously because it helps brings the Kingdom
of God here on earth.

In the Gospel reading today from Mark 12, we see the widow go up to the temple treasury and put in
her two small cents. In terms of quantity, many people in that line put a lot more money in the temple
offering. Certainly she has earned a reputation through the centuries as a good example of sacrificial
giving. The fact is, this woman is one of the nameless saints in the Gospel of Mark. She stands in the
company with a number of other anonymous women. One of them anointed Jesus by breaking open a
costly bottle of perfume.

Like them, this woman comes out of the shadows for a moment and then disappears just as suddenly.
We don’t know much about her. Mark offers only three details about her.
1. First, she was a widow.
2. Second, she was poor.
3. And third, she gave everything she could as a gift to support her place of worship.

But we see this response about the widow’s offering. Verse 43-44 says;
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury
than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything- all
she had to live on.”

A few weeks ago at Night of Worship on Friday nights we looked at the story of the feeding of the 5000,
and the boy generous gift of his lunch. We spoke about the fact that there would have been 5000 men,
plus a possible 10,000 more women and children gathered there on a hillside near the Sea of Galilee.
We spoke about the boys lunch being 5 barley loaves and 2 small dried fish.
What we go on to see in this encounter is that Jesus provided for everyone. As recorded in John 6, Jesus
accepted the gift, blessed it, and shared it with the people. As it was distributed throughout the crowdit
was multiplied. To the point that when they collected the baskets, they counted 12 full baskets.
This boys attitude of generosity is a reminder that when we offer what we have to God, He takes them,
blesses them, and multiplies them to do extraordinary things.

Have you ever wondered what Jesus would have done if he didn’t have five loaves and two fish?
What if he’d only had one fish and two loaves of bread? or even a bread crumb and a sardine?
I’d suggest that it wouldn’t have made a difference. It would have been the same outcome. Jesus could
have done the same miraculous work. The amount we give matters far less than the spirit with which
we give. That’s the God principle. God multiplies our giving when we offer it in surrender and faith. It
has nothing to do with how much we give, but how willing we give it.

Remember it’s about our attitude of giving to God. It’s not just about our coins, but our gifts- our heart,
our lives, our talents, our resources, our time, our energy.
For Jesus seeing the widows offering in the temple, to the boys lunch. It is not about what we give, or
about how much we give. It’s all about the attitude that we give it with.

Generosity is characteristic that’s needed to live out the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25 says;. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

I came across the great quote about the Fruit of the Spirit.
“Love is the key. Joy is love singing. Peace is love resting. Patience is love enduring.
Kindness is love’s touch. Generosity is love’s character. Faithfulness is love’s habit.
Gentleness is love’s self-forgetfulness. Self-control is love holding the reins.”
Clearly, from the Scriptures, and especially Jesus words, God wants us to be Generous. And as we focus
our lives on serving Christ we become more generous.
That Fruit of the Spirit leads us to be;
• Generous with our Love;
• Generous with our Forgiveness;
• Generous with our Giving; and
• Generous with our Kindness.

There’s a Chinese Proverb that says: “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses.”
So it is through the Love of God, that we are filled with the Joy of the Spirit, which floods our hearts with
Peace and contentment, allows us to be Patient and encourages us to not only be Kind but to reach out
and share that Love, Joy, Peace, Patience and Kindness with a Generosity born of God.
May we be willing and generous in our giving of ourselves to God and to others.
Be Generous with your Love, Be Generous with your Forgiveness, Be Generous with your Giving, and
Be Generous with your Kindness so the Fruit of God’s Spirit might continue to grow in you and touch
the loves of others.

Amen.