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When it comes to announcing a stewardship sermon series, I’m tempted to downplay it or cover it up with some creative theme. No preacher out there likes to talk about money and stewardship. Why? Maybe it’s because we all know people criticize the church too often for money issues. Maybe it’s because we ourselves have made mistakes when it comes to our money. Maybe it’s because we, too, like to daydream about what it would be like to win some huge windfall. I once prayed, “God make me rich so I can give it away.” He obviously doesn’t trust me.
And yet, with all the misgivings of speaking about money, with all the past mistakes I’ve made, with all the ignorance and desire to ignore the subject, God still had a great deal to say about money and generosity. Here’s a dangerous prayer to pray: “Lord, what would YOU have us hear today?”
With that in mind, let’s consider our money for a moment. Of all the things we can do with money, giving it away seems completely, utterly irrational, doesn’t it? It turns out that, according to scriptures, generosity is a key component of what it means to use money well. Wow! Really?
The Bible says we were each made in God’s image, and since God is infinitely generous, that means generosity is woven into the fabric of our spiritual DNA. When we don’t give, we deny our inner nature. When we are giving, we live in con-cert with our design. It’s no wonder that generous people are generally happier and find more meaning to life than those who are stingy.
As Solomon once said, “The generous will pros-per; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
The Bible says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
I remember a time when my wife, Bonnie, wanted to give some money to a student doing missionary work in a country that I wasn’t sure I could find on a map. Up to that time, I never thought of that country. It just wasn’t on my radar screen. How-ever, after we started sending some money there, I noticed every time the country was in the news. My heart went there because some of our money was going there. What do you know; Jesus was right about treasure and heart.


Giving generously seems to be one of the keys that unlock God’s blessings, too. I am very confident that giving in order to get something from God is not His plan for our wellbeing. Still, many passages of scripture clearly state that there are blessings that flow from generosity, such as Proverbs 11:24: “One man gives freely yet gains even more. Another withholds unduly but comes to poverty.”
Now we can debate passages like these all day long, but in the end, over and over again throughout scripture, blessings follow giving.
Period! It may seem irrational. It doesn’t make sense on a spreadsheet. It’s one of those hard-to-explain but impossible-to-deny realities that there is a clear link between generosity and blessings.
As Solomon said, “Blessed are those who are generous.” (Proverbs 22:9)
As Paul pointed out, “Remember this--a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’ And God will generously provide all you need. Then, you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (II Corinthians 9:6-8, NLT)
Jesus once said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:25) I’ll simply close by misusing a line from a popular commercial, “Stay generous, my friend.”
[Ron Otto, preaching minister at Lincoln Christian Church]


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