2 Corinthians 9.6-15
This last week in his sermon Craig recalled a story from some men at the Morning Star Mission. One man had his shoes stolen in the night and awoke to that fact and was bent on revenge. As he was trying to locate his missing shoes, a buddy who had been in Bible study with him called across the room to him and reminded him of the lesson Jesus taught. “If someone demands of you your coat, give him your cloak also.” With that base he cried out, “give him your socks John, give him your socks.” As God worked in John’s heart, he put up his knife and took off his socks to give them away also.
As I ponder this lesson I find myself drawing application in other areas of Christianity too. Giving is a gift of God to us, 2 Corinthians 9.15. Normally we think of giving in the sense of tithing, generosity to a charity, or perhaps giving in the area of time or talent to a righteous cause. But to be required to give in this circumstance of loss really stretches the imagination.
In Exodus 25.2 The Lord spoke to Moses to ” tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me, from every man whose heart moves him.” Mark 12. 41-44 In the story of the widows mites, surely her contribution had little effect on the overall treasury of the temple, but God was overjoyed at her heart response. 2 Corinthians 9.7 “not grudgingly or out of compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.” Put this together and we find a message that says from our inner most being, the heart, giving starts. The world can’t begin to grasp this, as we see companies manipulating statements and contracts to keep more for themselves, people delaying payments for work done, withholding taxes being withheld but never sent to the government, thefts, embezzlements, the list goes on and on. So in contrast to the world, Jesus says give your money away. Don’t be greedy looking for return but from the heart as God has changed you, as you become a new creation, put it into action. Be gracious.
The true Christian understands giving is relational to our view of God. As we see the vastness of God, the grace of God, the love, the holiness, omnipotent, immutable qualities of God, how can we respond in any way but gracious obedient giving. 1 Corinthians 2.5 “For our faith does not rest on the wisdom of man, but on the power of God.” All scriptural instruction assumes all scripture is being understood, established, and put to use in the life of the believer. Sometimes we are literally shaken by God because of our shortsighted, myopic view of Him, and like Isaiah in the very throne room of Jehovah need to admit once again that we are a people of unclean lips. Our selfish view of God needs to expand dramatically, and we need a simple lesson in humility.
As John was free to give away his socks also, so are we free to be graciously generous in our giving too, not out of duty, but out of love for God, our Savior. As God calls each of us to obedience let the Holy Spirit into your wallet too. We can’t out give God.
Thanks for a great sermon Craig.