The Greatest of All Givers
The story is told of a well-known preacher who made an appeal to his congregation for money to build a new building. He invited everyone to bring their gifts and lay them on the altar. Immediately, the altar was filled with people and their offerings. A little crippled girl came slowly to the front, pulling a little ring from her finger, laying it on the altar. Adjusting her crutches, she turned around, and began to walk back to her seat. After the service, an usher sent for her, and brought her back to the pastor's study. The pastor said, "Dear girl, I saw the thing you did tonight. It was a beautiful gesture; however, the response of the people was so great, that we received enough money to build our new building. Therefore, we don't need your ring, and we want to give it back to you." The little girl, with a sternness in her eyes, replied, "I didn't give that ring to you, I gave it to God!!"
We like to think of ourselves as being generous givers. However, statistics tell us that:
--the average household contributions to churches, last year was: $1,017
--31 percent of Christians didn't give at all, last year.
--with an average income of $20-50, only 1.3 percent of income was given
In these two verses, James turns our attention to our God, the great giver. In spite of all of his other notable and worthy credentials, James beautifully depicts God as being the "GREATEST OF ALL GIVERS", and he does that by showing us:
I. THE GRACIOUS CHARACTER OF THE GIVER (v. 17)
James seeks, in this verse, to outline the gracious character of the giver. In the previous section, vv. 13-16, we focused upon the evil of temptation. Now, we see, the goodness of God. James, having pointed out error, now, underlines truth! He warned us, in verse 16, to not "be deceived" into thinking that God is the cause of temptation. It seems as if, now, he warns us to not "be deceived" into not recognizing the Grac ...
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