Giving above Our Ability
2 Corinthians 8:9
Giving has a bad reputation in our churches and in the world today. The most often heard criticism of the church is, "All they talk about is money." If any of you were thinking that, I don't want to disappoint you this morning.
Preachers approach their annual stewardship sermons with consternation. They usually begin their sermon with an apology that they have to mention the subject of money again. It is a standing joke that Baptists cannot have a service without taking an offering.
One young police recruit who happened to be the son of a Baptist minister, was asked during an examination, "How would you scatter a mob?" He replied, "I would take off my hat and take up a collection!" That would certainly do it.
Giving is not an obligation to abhor, or a responsibility to relegate to a minor place in the Christian life. Giving is an opportunity to get in on what God is doing.
Consequently, nothing can be so joyful, so pleasing, and rewarding as giving through the church. I would be doing you a disservice if I did not preach on giving.
How do we give beyond our ability?
1. THERE MUST BE A PROPER PREREQUISITE.
-V. 3-4 Paul did not have to beg the churches in Macedonia to give. They begged him to allow them to give. The reason for their response is that they first gave themselves to the Lord.
It is not difficult for us to give our money if we have given ourselves. On the other hand, it is difficult for us to give our money if we have not given ourselves.
-A church sign said, "God loves a cheerful giver, but he also accepts from a grouch." The implication is that it doesn't matter what kind of attitude we have, if we just give some money to God.
However, God's primary concern is not with our money. God's primary concern is with us. The Rich Young Ruler could not give his money to the Lord because he would not give himself to the Lord.
In 1874, Frances Havergal wrote her famous hymn ...
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