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The Heart Of Generosity – Part 3
Archived – January 15, 2023

The Heart Of Generosity – Part 3

January 15, 2023


  • Giving God’s way requires that you first give yourself to the Lord.
  • Giving yourself to the Lord requires that you renounce all proprietary claims to your life.
  • The New Testament communicates that we are free from external mandates for giving, but not internal ones.
  • Free will giving is about freely deferring to what God puts on your heart to give.
  • God asks for the amount that makes us count the cost.
  • The figure that makes us count the cost is the same figure that softens are hearts before the Lord.
  • The Lord uses what we give to shape our hearts to be devoted to Him.
  • Giving God’s way is both action and attitude.

Make Generosity a Priority

2 Corinthians 8:6-7 (NIV) – 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

Matthew 6:21 (ESV): 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


  • What do you think are the qualities that would characterize someone who excels in the grace of giving? What would you need to see in someone to characterize them as someone who excels as a giver? 
  • To be characterized as someone who excels in the grace of giving, you need to do what?
    • Make giving a priority
    • Be purposeful with your life. 
    • Make giving a practice.
      • Giving must be a practice and not just something you do when you are inspired.

    Will You Pass the Test?

    2 Corinthians 8:8 (NIV) – 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.

    • There is no explicit New Testament command for Gentile believers to tithe.
    • Tithers and other generous givers are presented to us as examples of what honoring God with our money looks like. (Proverbs 3:9–10 (ESV)9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; 10 Then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.)
    • Honoring the Lord with your wealth is a reference to the law of the tithe and honoring the Lord with the first fruits is a reference to the law of the first fruit.
      • The required three tithes, averaging 23 percent
        • For the Levites (ongoing) [Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:21]
        • For festival expenses (annual) [Deuteronomy 14:23]
        • For the dependents of the state (orphans, widows, poor, immigrants, Levites) (every three years) [Deuteronomy 14:28-29; 26:12]
      • First fruit offerings were also required (Leviticus 23:9-14; Deuteronomy 26:1-10).
        • The first fruit offering was the first and the best of your harvest.
        • The law required that you give the first fruit before harvesting the rest of your crop.
    • However, the Proverbs passage does not focus on legal technicalities, but rather the spirit and motivation for giving.
      • The most important reason to give is to honor God.
      • What amount of money is worthy enough to honor God?
        • Do this exercise: If how much you honor God were determined exclusively by how much you gave financially, think about what you currently contribute and ask yourself if you honor God.
        • This is the test: Look at all the examples of givers in the Old and New Testaments and notice your reaction: Do you say resist this kind of giving, saying its unnecessary or do you begin to repent because it has exposed how little you value God and what He has done for you?
          • All the tithers and first fruit givers
          • Moses: Exodus 36:3–7 (ESV)3 And they received from Moses all the contribution that the people of Israel had brought for doing the work on the sanctuary. They still kept bringing him freewill offerings every morning, 4 so that all the craftsmen who were doing every sort of task on the sanctuary came, each from the task that he was doing, 5 and said to Moses, “The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do.” 6 So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, “Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing, 7 for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.
          • David: 1 Chronicles 21:23–24 (ESV)23 Then Ornan said to David, “Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.” 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
          • David and Solomon: I Chronicles 29:1-9 (NIRV)1 Then King David spoke to the whole community. He said, “God has chosen my son Solomon. But Solomon is young. He’s never done anything like this before. The task is huge. This grand and wonderful temple won’t be built for human beings. It will be built for the Lord God. 2 With all my riches I’ve done everything I could for the temple of my God. I’ve provided gold for the gold work and silver for the silver work. I’ve provided bronze for the bronze work and iron for the iron work. I’ve given wood for the things that will be made out of wood. I’ve given onyx and turquoise for the settings. I’ve given stones of different colors and all kinds of fine stone and marble. I’ve provided everything in huge amounts. 3 With all my heart I want the temple of my God to be built. So I’m giving my personal treasures of gold and silver for it. I’m adding them to everything else I’ve provided for the holy temple. 4 I’m giving 110 tons of gold and 260 tons of pure silver. Cover the walls of the buildings with it. 5 Use it for the gold work and the silver work. Use it for everything the skilled workers will do. How many of you are willing to set yourselves apart to the Lord today?” 6 Many people were willing to give. They included the leaders of families and the officers of the tribes of Israel. They included the commanders of thousands of men and commanders of hundreds. They also included the officials who were in charge of the king’s work. 7 All of them gave to the work on God’s temple. They gave more than 190 tons of gold and 380 tons of silver. They also gave 675 tons of bronze and 3,800 tons of iron. 8 Anyone who had valuable jewels added them to the treasure for the Lord’s temple. Jehiel was in charge of the temple treasure. He was from the family line of Gershon. 9 The people were happy when they saw what their leaders had been willing to give. The leaders had given freely. With their whole heart they had given everything to the Lord. King David was filled with joy.
          • The Widow: Mark 12:41–44 (ESV)41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.
          • Zacchaeus: Luke 19:8 (ESV)8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”
          • The Rich Young Ruler (Luke 18:18–23)
          • The Macedonians (II Corinthians 8: 1-5)
          • The cost of discipleship (Luke 14:26–33)
          • The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-14)
            • The New Covenant requires more than what the law requires, not less.
            • Freedom from tithing is not about being free to give less but being free to give more.

    Consider the Goodness of God

    2 Corinthians 8:9 (NIV) 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

    Finish the Work

    2 Corinthians 8:10-11 (NIV) – 10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.

    God is Not Asking for Something You Don’t Have

    2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV) 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.

    • Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

    God is Not Exploiting Anyone

    2 Corinthians 8:13-14 (NIV) – 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality,

    When We Are Faithfully Obedient, No One Is Left Behind

    2 Corinthians 8:15 (NIV) – 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”




    © Joshua D. Smith, Ph.D., 2023


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