Stewardship 3 – 2019 LSB #’s 851, 785, 783
Text – 2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
The Joy of Giving
Did you notice in the text how many times the word “all” is used? All grace, having all sufficiency, in all things, at all times, you will abound in every good work. Hold that thought.
A man staggers through the desert, nearly dead from thirst. Struggling against the wind, slipping in the sand, he sees an oasis in the distance. Upon reaching it, he discovers that this one is much different than any other oasis he has ever visited. There are palm trees, but there’s no pool of water. Instead he finds a well with a pump.
Near the pump is a jar of water. As he puts the jar of water up to his lips, he sees a piece of parchment with a note written on it. The note reads:
“In this jar, there’s enough water to keep you alive for a day or two; however, to have all the water you want, you must follow these directions carefully. Pour all the water from the jar into the pump. There’s just enough water to soften the leather gasket in the pump. The softened gasket will allow you to pump all the water you want.”
He also notices that there’s a P.S. on the bottom of the parchment: “When you are finished, please fill up this jar for the next traveler.” Naturally, the man wandering in the desert questions whether he should believe the note. Does he drink the water from the jar or trust the words on the parchment?
God also wants you & me to do something that seems counter-intuitive. In His Holy Word, our Lord encourages us to take a part of the money that we have & give it away, or, in light of our story, pour some of it out. Not all of it, as the thirsty traveler had to, just part of it. Even though it seems you don’t have enough money, God tells us to trust Him & give. He wants you to believe not only in His promise that He will provide for our needs (Philippians 4:10), but that through our giving He will fill us up to give even more. As we respond to God’s love for us, by giving back to Him part of what He’s given to us, He reacts by giving us even more blessings.
By grace, God grants you the ability to trust in His promises. He changes your heart. He changes your focus & purpose in life. He changes our giving from following rules & regulations to giving from a heart that is cheerful. Our giving changes from an obligation to an opportunity.
The note on the pump promised blessings if the directions were followed. In the same way, God’s Word promises blessings through our faithful giving. We read in Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth & with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, & your vats will be bursting with wine.”
Just as the Israelites were to sacrifice to the Lord the firstfruits of their harvest, we give the 1st portion of our incomes to the Lord. Proverbs 19:17 tells us, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, & He will repay him for his deed.”
God promises blessings through the generous giving of our earthly gifts. Through our generosity, we express gratitude to God for all that He entrusts to us. His Word clearly directs us to use the blessings we receive from Him to bless others. We are blessed to be a blessing. In Christ’s name, we are to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless & help the sick.
God blesses us not only to take care of our needs; He blesses us so that we can use what we receive to bless others. Paul wrote, “So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, & especially to those who are of the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
A review of God’s Law could almost be summarized in one word: Give. And there’s a blessing in giving. At Luke 6:38 God says, “Give, & it will be given to you. Good measure,
pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” That joy & blessing of giving are echoed by the Apostle Paul in the 20th chapter of Acts.
He’s saying his goodbyes to the people with whom he’s been in ministry the past three years. It’s a sad farewell, because Paul is bound for Rome & prison, perhaps even execution. As he says his farewell, he’s not talking about the weather or his favorite sports team. He shares the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
An important part of living the life God’s children want to live is to give. Yahweh designed us to be blessed in giving. We hear & believe the truth that there’s joy & blessing in giving, yet, at the same time, we doubt. Oh, how we struggle with doubts about giving.
It seems we get caught in believing, or have the illusion, that if we buy & own something new – that purchase from Amazon or the mall – it makes us into something better & new. It is difficult to ignore those false gods, which clamor for our adoration. Yet, our saintly nature knows that great living comes in giving – of our time, energy, or possessions – including money.
Why do you think the parables of Jesus discuss the appropriate & inappropriate use of money? Doesn’t money have the ability to help or hinder us when it comes to enjoying the quality of life God wants to give? Cold, hard cash has the power to lure people away from serving the true God. Money easily becomes far too important in our lives.
Trusting God, we can take this adventure in faith & give the 1st portion of our income generously & with love. The path of giving generously is the path Yahweh encourages all His children to take, knowing we are blessed in giving. Here’s the path Jesus demonstrated for us:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Jesus gave of Himself to the point of poverty so that we might be rich spiritually. He died in order to erase our sins, but His death also shows us how to give.
In the desert of this sinful world, the Holy Spirit has led you, at times staggering, to an oasis of forgiveness. There are palm trees & a well with a pump. Near the pump is a jar of water. On the jar is a piece of parchment with a written note. It says:
“In this jar, there’s enough water to keep you alive for a day or two; however, to have all the water you want, you must follow these directions carefully. Pour all the water from the jar into the pump. There’s just enough to soften the leather gasket in the pump. The softened gasket will allow you to pump all the water you want.”
Can you trust that written word? That’s the question. With that story you don’t even know who the author is, but in your life, & in your giving, you do know the Author & the Creator & the Perfecter. You do know the Good Shepherd, & His voice. Will you follow? Will you believe that His design for your giving is a blessing, or a curse?
Will you tune out the devil’s lie that you should doubt God’s blessing? Here is our heavenly Father’s promise: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” All grace, having all sufficiency, in all things, at all times, you will abound in every good work.
That is your Creator’s promise for you. If you trust Him, you will have all the joy you want, even if you give some of what you have received to the other travelers. Amen.
We praise You, O God, our Redeemer, Creator; in grateful devotion our tribute we bring. We lay it before you, we kneel & adore You; we bless Your holy name, glad praises we sing. Amen. LSB 785:1.
 Matthew 25:35-36
Pastor Dean R. Poellet