Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sounds pretty generous, doesn’t it! But what about the motivation? The more lavish the potlatch, the more prestigious the host became. Prestige was the motivating factor.
How generous are we in giving our resources for the purposes of Christ? What is our motivation for giving? Do we give so that others will notice? In his book Cultivating Fruitfulness, Robert Schnase describes extravagant generosity as “the practices of sharing and giving that exceed all expectations and extend to unexpected measures.” He goes on to share that fruitful congregations thrive because of “extraordinary sharing, willing sacrifice, and joyous giving out of love for God and neighbor.” As Christians, our motivation for giving should be to obey and please God.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 2 Corinthians 9:6
Early Christians practiced extravagant generosity by selling their possessions and giving to the widows, orphans, sick, and poor. How would “sowing generously” affect us today? How would our communities look if we practiced this kind of giving? If all Christians practiced extravagant generosity, could we eliminate hunger and homeless? How much mission work could be accomplished?
If members of historically Christian churches in the United States had raised their giving to the Old Testament’s minimum standard of giving (10% of income) in 2000, an additional $139,000,000,000 a year would become available assist in Christian based mission work (Generous Giving, Inc. Statistics, 2004).
Christians could change the world by practicing generous giving and by heeding the advice in 1 Timothy 6:18-19,
Tell those rich in this world's wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they'll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life. (The Message)