Many people in our nation could be categorized with one of two titles. They are "givers" or "takers". When a person is not a believer committed to the Lord Jesus Christ it is easy to understand why they are in the "taker" category. But, those committed to our Lord Jesus Christ should be in the giver category. Why should Christians give? I will suggest four reasons:
1. It's the Father's way
2. It's the loving way
3. It's the redemptive way
4. It's the Christian way
Please leave your Bible open to the text as we consider this subject.
Recently I heard a mother say, "I told my sons, "you are just like your father." And he said, "I know it and I'm glad." In one pastorate I had I did not meet the young son of a prominent member until I saw him walking on the other side of the fellowship hall. This lad walked with the same distinctive walk of his father. I said to the boy, "You're Don Mills' son aren't you?" He said, "Yes, but how did you know?" I told him, "You walk just like your dad." (By the way, my new granddaughter looks like her mother.)
We do take on the characteristics of our family. We do look and act
like our relatives and those with whom we associate. Doesn't it make sense
that a Christian would become God like? Isn't it true that the qualities
of Godliness would adorn the Child of God? Christians should give because
it is like their Father. Now follow the second thought.
The Apostle Paul will further illustrate this point. When he was Saul of Tarsus he was a taker. He looked out for Number one. The desire of this heart seemed to be to make a name for Saul. But, then Saul became a Christian. His entire lifestyle changed. He certainly became a giver.. His desire became to please his Lord. He said "...whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31 b) Why had this change taken place? Paul further states, "...the love of Christ constraineth us; ..." (1 Cor. 5:14 a) So you see love is illustrated in Paul's life, changing him from a taker to a giver. One who gave even his entire life.
Have you demonstrated your love for Christ? What expression of giving
has flowed from your life that Christ produced: Our relationship with Jesus
causes us to love. Love causes one to give. Notice also a third emphasis.
The need for redemption is universal. All who believe not are condemned. It is not a future event, it is a present reality. If you are not this very moment a believer you are on the way to condemnation.
Jesus said, "...the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."(Luke 19:10) I interpret that to mean Jesus' purpose and motivation for life on this earth was redemptive. He gave in order to redeem. Yes, He taught and is our example. But, all His teaching and examples have a bottom line redemptive purpose.
Have you heard a story like this? A battle is raging and several of our soldiers are together in a large fox hole. They are actively involved in defending our cause. Then a hand grenade lands in the far end of the fox hole. Each soldier knows the explosive device may kill them all. It will certainly kill several and injure the rest. Then one of the men runs and dives on the grenade. He is mutilated by the explosion. However, the rest of the soldiers are not harmed. Why did that one soldier do that? He gave his life with a redemptive purpose. One life to save many. That is a good illustration, but is still limited in fully expressing what Christ did.
It is common in every church I know, eventually someone gets made at
the preacher. When the pastor talks about money he really has the possibility
of stirring up anger. Isn't it amazing that it's all right to talk about
God giving but not man giving back to God. My friend, Christians should
give and be giving people simply because they have a desire to advance
the redemptive cause of Christ. Please look at verse 21 for a fourth thought.
Truth is emphasized in the 21st verse. The Christian way is the way of truth. Jesus is Truth. As we walk in Him we will not lie about our response to a needy world. We will live in the truth of the world's need and our ability to respond graciously and give. It is the Christian way.
The word Christian means "little Christ" or "Christ like ones". It is Christian to be like Christ, therefore, we have His works produced in us. The last phrase of verse 21 states, "...as having been wrought in God." The Christian's life is productive in the works wrought by God. Giving and the word Christian ought to be thought of as synonyms.
Today, I listened to Dr. James Kennedy. He shared many facts about the AIDS problem. He showed a converted homosexual who has developed a ministry called Victory HOUSE. In this home AIDS patients are accepted. They are given a room free of charge. Each night there is a Bible Study. No one is required to attend. It is the hope that every guest will attend and become a Christian. Why did this converted homosexual begin this ministry? He was motivated to give and to give with a redemptive purpose simply because it's the Christian thing to do.
A few years ago I heard a story about a church hearing the testimony of a converted Kamikaze pilot. This man had been willing to die for his emperor. Now he was living for the Lord Jesus Christ. However, a prominent lady in the church had a son killed by the explosion of a Kamikaze pilot.
She could not bear to hear this man so she went out in the vestibule. Her intent was to go home. But, the Lord spoke to her and she listened from the hall as the man gave his testimony. He said, "A pilot like me might have killed or injured one of your loved ones. Please allow me to say I'm sorry. Please allow me to ask your forgiveness. I was serving an emperor because I didn't know my Lord."
After church just the pastor and one or two others were standing near the pulpit with the Japanese man. The lady made her way toward the man and said, "I give you my forgiveness, the Lord has accepted you and so must I. Why did she do that? Because it's the Christian way.
Have you acknowledged Jesus as Lord in our life? If not, I urge you to pray the suggested prayer.