Reformation Sunday 30 October 2011
2 Corinthians 9:11 Fruitful Use of Money
A wise man once told me that conversion to Christianity usually occurs in three stages:
the head – we acknowledge the reality of God and the truth of His Word, intellectual assent you might say;
the heart – we become aware of the indwelling Holy Spirit and strive to treasure the love of God that has been poured into us;
the pocketbook – our attitude toward material wealth is completely reoriented toward the kingdom of God, as Larry Burkett said, our finances are an outward indicator of our inner spiritual condition.
Having looked at the fruitful use of our time and talents the past two Sundays, we come to the crux of the matter of bearing fruit for Jesus: fruitful use of money. Either Jesus is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. St. Paul puts it like this in 2 Corinthians 9:11. The more you are enriched by God the more scope there will be for generous giving, and your gifts, administered through us, will mean that many will thank God. (J.B. Phililips)
Our freedom in Christ is not a mere abstraction or an interesting theory, but a new reality that empowers the fruitful use of money – by means of proportionate, cheerful and generous giving in response to God’s free gift to us.
1. The more you are enriched by God
a. God gives us spiritual and material riches
b. The only limit to the supply of goods and services we create is our imagination and our love
2. The more scope there will be for generous giving
a. The first thing Christians think about doing with money is…..followed by……finally.
b. Greater maturity = greater generosity = greater joy
3. Your gifts, administered though us, will mean that many will thank God.
a. We work with trustworthy people to distribute God’s goodness
b. I dreamed I went to heaven and You were there with me
We walked upon the streets of gold Beside the crystal sea.
We heard the angels singing Then someone called your name.
You turned and saw this young man And he was smiling as he came.
And he said, "Friend you may not know me now" And then he said, "But wait"
You used to teach my Sunday School When I was only eight.
And every week you would say a prayer Before the class would start.
And one day when you said that prayer I asked Jesus in my heart."
Thank you for giving to the Lord I am a life that was changed.
Thank you for giving to the Lord I am so glad you gave.
Then another man stood before you And said, "Remember the time
A missionary came to your church And his pictures made you cry.
You didn't have much money But you gave it anyway.
Jesus took the gift you gave And that's why I am here today."
One by one they came Far as the eye could see
Each life somehow touched By your generosity.
Little things that you had done Sacrifices made.
Unnoticed on the earth In heaven now proclaimed.
And I know up in heaven You're not supposed to cry.
But I am almost sure There were tears in your eyes.
As Jesus took your hand And you stood before the Lord.
He said, "My child look around you. Great is your reward."
(Words and Music by Ray Boltz)