10I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
14Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.
16Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
Over the weekend, the Lord gave us the opportunity to focus on God’s generosity. Through three sermons, Tim Tinsley reminded us of God’s generous grace. If you want to listen to any of these messages, they are available online. Let’s consider some of what we heard and how the Lord might be calling us to respond.
We have a generous Creator.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
God has given us 2,000 different fruits and 20,000 vegetables; 3 trillion trees and 300 billion birds; more stars in the sky than grains of sand on the earth. The figures are staggering, but the real crown of God’s creation is humanity. A person made in the image of God is more beautiful than a million stars on a cloudless night. When we think about the world and our lives in it, are we moved to worship our generous God, Maker of heaven and earth?
We have a generous Redeemer.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Ever since Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie, we’ve struggled with the serpentine suspicion that God is stingy. Have we ever thought our way was better than His? As sinners, we turn away from our generous Creator to worship and serve His creation. But amazingly, when we were at our worst, God in His generosity gave us His best. The Father sent His Son to redeem us from the curse of sin by becoming a curse for us on the cross. When we deserved death, Jesus Christ sacrificed everything to give us His life. Are we overwhelmed by the generous grace of our Redeemer?
We have a generous Provider.
And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ…. And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6, 4:19
The apostle Paul is confident that God will provide for him and for the Philippians. He is sure that the same God who gave them grace to begin will give them grace to finish. Do we share this confidence in God’s generous provision? Does it lead us to a life of joyful gratitude and prayerful dependence? Does God’s provision build our confidence in ourselves or in Him?
God’s generous grace makes us generous people.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19
On Monday night, Tim reminded us that if we make around $48,000 a year, we are in the top 1% of the richest people in the world. When Paul tells Timothy how to encourage rich people, he’s talking about most—if not all—of us. Beyond financial resources, we all have time and talents entrusted to us by the Lord. Motivated by His generous grace, how will we respond? Let’s create some space to consider these questions and ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts.
If we are rich, why do we not feel rich?
Have we defined what is “enough” for us?
If God has provided enough for us, why do we struggle to be content?
In what ways do we have a haughty spirit that makes us feel entitled?
How does the pressure to “upgrade” our life affect us?
How do we shift our hope from the Lord Jesus Christ to our wealth?
If we have more than enough, how does the Lord want us to relate to the surplus?
When we plan for our financial future, are we planning just for this world…or for eternity?
What joys might come as the Lord makes us a more generous people?
We long for an experience of God’s grace to us that leads to an overflow of God’s grace through us. Brothers and sisters, do we know the Lord who lavishes His grace on us in Christ? If we do, what kind of life should that generate?
For all the riches that we enjoy in this world, nothing compares to the riches that we have in Christ. As Tim closed on Monday night, He reminded us that we have been entrusted with the gospel. By God’s grace, someone shared it with us. By God’s grace, the Holy Spirit opened our eyes to see Jesus for who He is. And by God’s grace, we are called, not to horde it, but to share it with the world. Tim said:
“Seed that is still in the sack will rot. If you expect a crop, take the seed out of the sack and put it in the field. If you keep the seeds of the gospel in a sack in this church or in your home, it is irrational to think you’re going to have a crop. Get off of your bag of seeds, and spread the seeds of the gospel generously to everyone who has a pulse. And then expect a crop. Don’t sit on the bag of the gospel and expect a crop.”
Trusting that our God is a generous Creator, Redeemer, and Provider, are we confident that He will give us everything we need to live a generous life?