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Author:Rev. Sjirk Bajema
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Congregation:The Reformed Church of Oamaru
 Oamaru, New Zealand
 sites.google.com/site/rcoamaru/
 
Title:Not A Sermon For Meanies!
Text:Proverbs 11:25 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:Tithing
 
Preached:2023-03-05
Added:2023-03-12
 

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Sjirk Bajema, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.


PROVERBS 11:25

(Readings: 2 Cor.9:6-15; Prov.11:24-31)

 

Not A Sermon For Meanies!

 

 

Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ…

 

     Imagine that our country came out with a new range of bank notes. This new range would have the same person pictured on one side of all the different currency values - the $5, the $10, the $20, the $50, and the $100.

     But that person is not who you think it might be. It’s not our new king. And it’s not the football star who survived five seasons injury-free!

     In fact, that person wouldn’t be from our age at all. This person is King Solomon. And the quote that’s attributed to him on all those notes is this: “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.”

     Did you recognise that? It’s the verse before the text. But you won’t find any Budget Advisor subscribing to any of this. It’s not their economic gospel! This is not the way you encourage people to save their money.

     And it doesn’t make any sense the other way either! Because spending what you’ve got only puts you into debt - it makes you poorer not richer.

     It wouldn’t make sense to the world, would it? But where we’re from it makes the most sense of all. Because this is sanctified sense!

     Let’s consider this now. Through Proverbs 11 verse 25 let’s hear the sermon that’s not for meanies. Because if you’re one of those; if your life is centred round your money and your things; you cannot give this way. In fact, you have to seriously consider where you’re coming from!

 

     This is what our first aspect is about. You see ... THIS IS ABOUT WHERE A GENEROUS MAN’S FROM.

     It is the generous man which this is all about. And he’s not just popped out of thin air. There must be some reason as to why he’s generous rather than being mean.

     The Hebrew word used for “brings blessing”, or “generous” in the NIV, helps us here. For literally translated it says, “the soul of blessing.”

     That’s quite lovely, isn’t it? It becomes even more wonderful when we see the only place that blessing can come from. Because there is only one place, right?

     You see, a soul of blessing is one from whom blessings go out to others. He is the one who is a blessing to all with whom he comes into fellowship. And he does that because it’s from God that he knows how to do that.

     It’s the Lord who scatters his blessing so generously around. Psalm 33:5 says, “The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” And Psalm 35, the verses 5 till 7, adds, “Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love!”

     But those apart from the Lord couldn’t be more different. Proverbs 21:17 says, “He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.”

     And the same applies even to those who might hoard up for themselves lots of earthly wealth. The saying is so true, “You can’t take it with you when you die!” But they are going to die trying!

     So “the soul of blessing”, the generous one, isn’t wrapped up in this world. In fact, to come across him is to meet someone who doesn’t have a care in this world! Because his interests lie in another world altogether! You can’t help but see WHERE A GENEROUS MAN’S FROM.

     That’s why you will find that a truly generous man doesn’t necessarily have lots of money. Most of them don’t! But it’s the attitude with which they give that makes all the difference.

     An old Jewish saying puts it like this: “The man who gives with a smile gives more than the man who gives with a frown.” It’s the spirit of generosity that counts. This is the spirit that gives not because it wants to get. Rather, this spirit gives because it loves to give!

     An English minister, Andrew Fuller, was once collecting money for foreign missions. One of his contacts was an old friend. When presented with the need, the man said, “Well, Andrew, seeing it’s you, I’ll give you five pounds.”

     “No,” Fuller said, “I can’t take your money for my cause, seeing it is for me.” He handed the money back.

     The man saw his point. “Andrew, you are right,” he replied. “Here’s 10 pounds, seeing it’s for the Lord Jesus.”

     You see, it’s not the amount we give towards helping the Lord’s work - it’s the motive he looks at. The Lord is more concerned with why we give than how much we give. We should never give to receive the praise of others, but we give because we love God and we want to see his name honoured and glorified.

     We read that in 2nd Corinthians 9:7. There the apostle Paul said, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

     Dear friend, where are you coming from? Why are you doing what you doing? Who is it for?

 

     And then let’s see, in the second place, THIS IS ABOUT WHAT A GENEROUS MAN DOES.

     Well, here’s a story that brings this out. A minister wanted to see if a farmer in his congregation was willing to support the Lord’s work. So one day he challenged him with some direct questions. “If you had two farms,” he asked, “would you be willing to give one to God?” “Why, certainly!” replied the man. “I only wish I was in a position to do so.”

     The minister then asked, “If you had $10,000, would you give $5,000 to the Lord?” Without hesitation the man responded, “How I’d love to have that kind of money! I’d enjoy giving generously like that.”

     Then the preacher asked this pointed question: “If you had two pigs, would you give one to the church?” The farmer hesitated for a moment and then blurted out, “That’s not fair! You know I’ve got two pigs!”

     Ah, we can have the most pious wishes when it’s someone else’s money. Then they should be giving more. When that offering bag comes past you, though, how does it hurt?

     It’s the generous man who will prosper. Not the one begrudgingly doing it. Nor the one who feels he has to do it for family or friends.

     Again, doesn’t God provide the ultimate example? Romans 8:32 says that because of love, “He … did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.” And in 2nd Corinthians 8:9 the apostle says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” So WHAT A GENEROUS MAN DOES is to give sacrificially.

         

     As well as giving sacrificially, a generous man gives systematically. Just as God planned from all eternity to save us through the gift of his own dear Son, so our giving is a wise use of our resources.

     Congregation, generosity is an aspect of wisdom. Just as much as selfishness is an aspect of foolishness. And so what we do in our giving is putting the money to the best possible use.

     When Jesus said in Matthew 6:3, that the left hand is not to know what the right hand is doing, he meant we are being humble in our giving. We’re not showing off about it like the Pharisees did.

     It doesn’t mean, though, we should give money to whoever asks us for it. We have to give carefully – it is God’s money.

 

     And WHAT A GENEROUS MAN DOES is to also act sympathetically. You go out of your way for someone else. You see, it’s not just about money or food, it’s about giving our very selves. And unless the practical things we give come from our hearts they don’t count for anything.

     Friend, you’re thinking of them. You’re praying for them. Because you’re truly giving yourself for them.

     You see, we cannot fully enjoy the riches of Christ unless we surrender ourselves to that. And this is where the second part of the text comes into its own. For “one who waters will himself be watered.” In other words, “he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” It is only as we are really emptying ourselves in the Lord’s service that we become filled up.   

 

     It’s as we give that we receive. In the words of the third aspect to this text, THIS IS ABOUT HOW A GENEROUS MAN GOES.

     There is a story in David’s life which shows this. It was during the time that he had his band of men in the mountains. They were based up there in their stronghold, either being pursued by Saul or about to be pursued by him.

     Then in 1st Samuel 25 we see David moving into a different area. There his men protected the servants and animals of a local farmer, and treated them fairly.

     But it says that that farmer, a man named Nabal, was mean and surly. When David’s men asked Nabal for a gift to help them, he despised them. He had become a rich man by not giving anything away. And he wasn’t going to change now!

     David was furious. He soon had four hundred of his men fully armed and was on the way to sort him out!

     But Nabal did have a clever and beautiful wife, Abigail. She was told how good David’s men had been to the servants. And now she heard David was coming with his men.

     So she got her servants ready and with many supplies went out to greet David. Quite the opposite to her husband, she blessed David. In 1st Samuel 25:27 she shows how true generosity spreads out. She says there, “let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master, be given to the men who follow you.”

     Congregation, Abigail showed HOW A GENEROUS MAN GOES. As she went out of her way for someone else the true spirit of giving came through.

     It wasn’t long after that that Nabal falls dead because Abigail tells him of her generosity. He had his reward. In fact, this is how all those who selfishly serve themselves will end up like one day.

     But the Lord didn’t forget Abigail. She became the wife of David.

     In the 16th Century an ambitious young man once met a devout Christian. The youth said to the believer excitedly, “My parents finally agreed to my studying law!”

     The believer asked simply, “What then?” To that the young men replied, “Then I shall become a lawyer!”

     “And then?” pursued the believer. “Then I shall earn lots of money, buy a country house, get a carriage and horses, marry a beautiful woman, and lead a delightful life!” he responded.

     Again the Christian asked, “And then?” “Then ...”

     The young man began reflecting for the first time of death and eternity. He realised that he hadn’t acknowledged God in his plans. He was building his life on very temporary earthly values.

     Congregation, money itself is not wrong. The Bible doesn’t ever say that. What it does say, though, is that the love of money is wrong. And that’s what you see with HOW A GENEROUS MAN GOES. For he doesn’t have money as his master. Rather, money is his servant.

     At the beginning of the sermon I raised the prospect of what could be on a new range of dollar notes. I’m sure you thought straight away that having King Solomon and his quote couldn’t and wouldn’t be printed here, or anywhere, today! And, as the world is presently, you’d probably be quite right.

     Before the Second World War, though, that was actually what was on one of the Dutch bank notes. There was a picture of Solomon with the words of Proverbs 11:24 on their valuable currency.

     Now, that was a country then powerfully impacted by the gospel. And didn’t it show! For how the generous man goes also applies to how a generous country goes.

     Let’s pray for such a spirit in our nation. Let’s pray that God will so rip the masks of selfishness off their faces that they will see themselves for who they really are. And having seen that, let’s pray that they come humbled before him.

     And let’s be the Lord’s arms and legs to do that. It can only be through his people worshipping and serving him that the Gospel takes root. Christians who truly give!

     Dear believers, let’s be so focused that we will be building up an incredible wealth - in heaven!

     Amen.

      

 

PRAYER:
Let’s pray...

     O loving heavenly Father, you are the most generous One! Indeed, what you have done in your Son makes even our very best service pall into insignificance. It is because of the sacrifice of your Son that we ourselves are so rich now.

     Help us to live out what we now are in him. Stir us to continue refreshing others - and even more!

     Bless the work we do, because it is for you. Through Christ our Lord, we pray, Amen.

 

 

    




* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Sjirk Bajema, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
The source for this sermon was: www.rcnz.org.nz

(c) Copyright 2023, Rev. Sjirk Bajema

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