Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Generosity...a Key Word for 2014!!!

As we begin a brand new year of 2014, I would imagine that following all of the Christmas purchase and gift giving that the number one topic on most people's minds is NOT the topic of generosity. For some reason, however, it is something that is in the forefront of my mind this week. I am not sure why? Perhaps it is because I am one of those people who had much rather give a gift than receive a gift. I feel awkward when I get gifts sometimes, but I get great joy in giving gifts. Maybe it is because I have been thinking this week how the Lottie Moon Christmas offering for International Missions we received during December at First Marion will be multiplied and used by Southern Baptist missionaries around the world to reach people for Christ and start new churches.

Like I said though, most of you are probably NOT thinking about generosity. Many of you are looking at your bank statement and either it is  thin or it is about to get thin when the Christmas bills start rolling in. What I know to be true in the lives of most people is that it is much easier to give your time, energy or money when you have a lot to spare. We are great at giving to God when we are giving only out of our leftovers. Yet, the true test of generosity comes when you do not have a surplus or when you spent too much at Christmas on presents or you are worried about losing your job. Do you still give what little you have to help somebody else? Do you still give your tithe and offerings to the Lord? If you do, then congratulations because you have passed God’s test of generosity. The only real problem is that only a handful of people are passing this test.

How do I know this? I know it from experience. Usually we have a good offering in December at FBC, often it is for individual's tax purposes, but still we have a good and much needed offering. But by the end of January and into February, many of these same people do not give a dime to the Lord. Why? They are giving their money to a different god...American Express...VISA...and MasterCard.

I read a great quote that speaks directly to the heart of generosity that I want you to think about today:

"No one has ever become poor from giving." - Anne Frank
Wow! What a great truth! Why not let this be a challenge in your life over the next few weeks. Give and see what God will do, even when things are "thin" at your house. God always honors those who first honor Him!