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Living Generously - Understanding the Journey, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
November 21, 2023 5:00 am

Living Generously - Understanding the Journey, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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November 21, 2023 5:00 am

Research tells us that generous people are happier, have a stronger immune system, and have more positive, life-giving relationships. Which begs the question: How can we become more generous people? Chip answers that question, in this program.

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Current research tells us that generous people are happier, have a stronger immune system, and have more positive, life-giving relationships. So it begs the question, how can we become more generous?

That's today. Stay with me. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Well, in just a minute, we'll continue our series, Living Generously. Last time, Chip identified a few reasons why being generous is the most logical, wise, and rewarding way to live. Today, we'll learn some simple, doable action steps to become more generous in everything we do. But before we get going, if this is your first time listening to Living on the Edge, or you want to learn more about what we do, go to livingontheedge.org.

You'll find resources on tons of topics and countless programs to enjoy. Or if you prefer, the Chip Ingram app is also a great way to get plugged in with our ministry. Well, with that, here's Chip with part two of his talk, Understanding the Journey. How do you become more generous? Here's our first steps toward living a generous life. Number one, recognize it's a journey.

You know, if you wanted to be a classical guitar player, a great athlete, no one went from putting on the skates to doing one of those dances. No one just put on some skis and then, you know, went like seven million miles up in the air and landed, you know, it's a journey. So what I want you to really think about is, what would it look like for you personally to say, wherever you're at on a scale of one to 10 or one to 100, if I'm here, what would it look like to move toward becoming more generous? And even at this moment, whisper, God, I'd like to be more generous.

Would you help me be more generous? Second, reevaluate your view of God. This is where it all really begins. And then Exodus 32, after all God's grace, deliverance, Moses goes up to get the Ten Commandments and they get Aaron to build a golden calf and they're worshiping a golden calf. Moses comes down, takes care of the situation. In chapter 33, he has this personal talk with God and says, you know, if we're going to keep going, you got to go with me.

If you're not going to go with me, I don't want to go. And he stands in the gap for the Israelites and they're forgiven. And then he's seen God's power. He's seen the Red Sea. He's seen the fire at night and the cloud by day. He's seen manna come out on, I mean, he's seen all these miracles, but his big prayer is show me your glory.

I want to know you as you really are. And in chapter 33, God says, no man can see my face and live, but here's what I'm going to do. I'll pass by and I'll let you get a glimpse. I'll let all my goodness pass before you. It's a very interesting Hebrew word and J.I.

Packer has a great observation. He says, within the cluster of God's moral perfections, there is one in particular to which the term goodness points. The quality which God especially singled out from the whole when proclaiming all his goodness to Moses. He spoke of himself as abundant in goodness and truth.

This is the quality of, are you ready? Generosity. Packer says that generosity expresses the simple wish that others would have what they need to make them happy.

Could you even for a moment fathom what would happen if when you thought about God, you thought he's generous? And he would like you to have what would make you happy. That he's for you. He's not down on you.

That it's not a transaction. If you do this, he'll do that. He loves you. And then he introduces himself.

It's really interesting. He introduces himself to Moses. He says, the Lord, the Lord, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Do you realize that little phrase in chapter 34 is repeated 13 different times, either directly eight or paraphrased another five? So what's God really like? The Lord, the Lord, he's compassionate. It's a word of he feels what you feel and he wants to bond with you. He's gracious.

It means he just wants to give, not because you've done anything, but just because there's something in him. He wants, he's compassionate and gracious. Contrary to popular belief, he's not angry. He's slow to anger.

The word literally means it takes something for a long, long time to heat up. He's so patient with you. He's kind. He's generous.

He's faithful. If you and I would begin to see and understand who God is, we would just be humbled by his generosity towards you. In Abraham's life, in Genesis 12 verses one through three, he calls this man out to leave. And it says he obeyed him and he followed and he doesn't know where he was going. And then this is God's promise. The Lord said to Abraham, leave your country, your people and your father's house and go to the land that I will show you. By the way, generosity sometimes means leaving your country, your people and your family.

It's positioning yourself in obedience. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you and I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you.

There's only three verses and the word bless or bless comes five times. Who is Abraham? He's the father of the faith. God wants us to trust him. Are you ready for this? As you trust him with your time, trust him with your future, trust him with your relationships, trust him at work.

Trust him with your money. Here's the God that you serve. He wants to bless you.

He wants to do good. You know, some of you are parents, right? Don't you kind of feel happy inside when your kids are doing well? Don't you at times wish you had a little bit more energy or time or money or you know there's something on their heart that you would want to give them?

Where do you think you get that? That's how God feels about you. He longs to bless you. God is a blesser and he's eager to bless your life.

Write that down, will you? He's a blesser. He wants to bless your life. And by the way, don't read into that. You know, you're going to get a G5 tomorrow.

Are you going to own three houses? He wants to bless your life. You know what he knows about you? Everything. And you know what? Someone who knows everything, he knows what will bring the greatest, deepest joy for the longest possible time. And if it were a thing, he'll probably give you a thing. But if things filled you up, then the richest people in the world would be the happiest.

Unfortunately, they're not. Summary. We do not own or deserve, write the word, anything. The beginning step of really becoming generous is sort of a coin with two sides. One side of the coin is God wants to bless me. The other side of the coin is he owns everything. So when he's asking us to be generous with time, who gave you the time? When he's asking us to be generous with our money, guess what? Get the word our out of it. It's not yours.

It's his. So all this stuff about percentages, if you give 20%, 30%, 40%, guess what? God owns it all and he holds us responsible for all of it.

What he wants you to know is it's an amazing thing that switches when you say, you know what? I don't own anything. Are you ready for this anti entitlement? You don't deserve anything.

And neither do I. See, we act like I deserve this. I worked hard. Well, who gave you the job? Well, you know, I thought this through. Well, who gave you the brain?

I mean, you know, we can go there. I got you, right? I got you. In fact, the apostle Paul says, what do you have that you haven't received? I'm not telling you that you haven't worked hard. I'm not telling you haven't applied yourself, but I'm telling you there's a sovereign, all knowing, all powerful God who has created every blessing, every good and perfect gift, James would say.

Don't be deceived. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. That's where it comes from. From the father of light with whom there's no variation or shifting shadow. In other words, he doesn't change. In the Old Testament, he says it the same way. The Lord God, Psalm 84, 11, the Lord God is a son and a shield, unlimited provider and protector. The Lord gives grace and glory.

In other words, what we don't deserve. And he wants to lift us up. And verse that last part, no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. The challenge is walking uprightly.

The challenge is aligning our lives in such a way. Most Christians lives, unfortunately, you're not blessable. You're not blessable. You got all these, you know, imagine, remember when we were kids and we did fights and someone would get a squirt gun out and then someone would get the hose? And what was the only way to stop the person with the hose, right?

You got down and you picked up the hose and you cranked it, right? So many Christians, your hose, God wants to pour blessing into your life and your hose, it's cranked. And it's with selfishness or with an addiction or with an unforgiving attitude or your finances are just, you know, in moments of weakness.

And sometimes it was just ignorance. But you got all this debt. There's just all kind of things that have happened and your Heavenly Father goes, I want to bless you. So we're going to go on a journey to position yourself so you can receive what God wants to give you. And when he gives it to you, he wants you to recognize, oh, by the way, this really is yours and you can keep passing it on.

You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We'll return you to Chip's message in just a minute. But let me quickly share with you, God has called us to do incredible ministry work all around the world. And when you regularly give to Living on the Edge, you're a part of what we do. So consider becoming a monthly partner today by visiting livingontheedge.org. We appreciate your generous support.

What with that, here's Chip. What keeps us from living generously? I've alluded to a couple. But first and foremost, human nature, right? We've all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You know, I have a number of small little grandchildren.

No one had to teach them. That's mine, right? And we get sophisticated, but that same that's mine is in your heart and mine. And so it's hard to be generous. The second reason is I just call it delusional thinking. I mean, we just because we sort of we always compare like this.

We always compare like, well, this this person is sort of an ax murderer and I haven't killed anyone. I must be a pretty nice person. You know, or, you know, I'm I give a dollar. I helped a homeless person once or I smile.

Instead of wait a second. Are you given the first and the best of your time to the Lord? Are you is your antenna up and do you find yourself giving kind words, kind thoughts? Do you find yourself secretly providing for people? And whether it's food or whether it's money. I I used to say this and there was always a little edge.

You know, pastors are people, too. So we do stuff that's not that great. And I had a message that I used to speak a number of years ago on giving. And when I really wanted to bring it home and I really wanted to kind of sing it to you because it frustrates me because I know what you're missing. And then part of it, it just frustrates me. And so I would say something like this. You ready ready for the zinger?

And I'll tell you the switch of motives. I would say the average Christian is far more committed to making sure they live 10 or 15 or 20 percent at a table to a waiter or a waitress than they are to the God that died and rose from the dead for them. How many times have you gone out to dinner at a decent place and just stiffed the waiter or waitress and given you anything? None. Right. I bet there's not a hand that would go up.

And then I and so that really made a point because I thought, wow, that'll help. It never has. But why? You know why? Because you get to know them as they're serving you and you're thinking partly what would they think? By the way, Christians by and large, I've known some waiters and waitresses Sunday afternoons, it's terrible. Yeah, they come in, they bow their head, they pray and they're the worst tippers. That's not a good testimony. But what I realize is when you get to know that person, what you realize that tip is going to an actual person.

They have eyes, they have hair, you might find out, you know, she has a little girl, you might find out that he's in school. And see, what I think has happened with giving in church, somehow you think it's like some law that God brought down. When you give, you give to a person, you give to Jesus. Giving is a love action. And I think the reason we don't stiff waitresses and waiters is because it's a real person. Somehow we think God's the force. He's a real person with feelings. And he wants us to give for our benefit and so that we can help others.

I think the biggest one, however, is just called irrational fear. I mean, it's just irrational. And it goes like this, if I give, and let's get to the heart. Some of you feel better about time, which is really harder to give than money. But, you know, if you're not doing well with money, time's even harder.

So, think of the logic. God, I know that you're going to provide my salvation and when I die, I believe with all my heart you've provided a way that you've paid for my sin, you've prepared a way for me, and I know for sure I'm going to heaven. I just don't think I could live on 90 or 80 or whatever percent that you lead me. I just don't think you could help me pay my bills.

Come on now, really. God, you can deliver me from death. God, I've seen you intervene and heal cancer. I've seen you pull a marriage back together. I've seen you take one of my kids and turn them around. I've seen you do things at work I never dreamed.

But, I really don't think you could give me enough money to pay for the groceries. It's just irrational and the enemy plays on it. And finally, this is, you know, we get the ugly stuff out of the way, we are people and sometimes it's just greed and pride. Just greed and pride. No one is immune. But notice, living generously requires wisdom, honesty, practice, faith, and humility.

And I didn't just pick those words out. You need wisdom to understand it's human nature. You need honesty to overcome your delusional thinking. You need practice because some people you just don't know the Bible.

You're not, it's not a bad person. I didn't know the Bible taught this. And then you need faith to overcome your irrational fears. And then humility. At the heart of giving it's just, always starts with humility. You've given this to me and I'm going to trust and I want to share this time, this word, this thought, this influence with someone else. Let me give you some action steps. How do you become more generous? One, take daily baby steps with words, thought, time, stuff, money, and can I encourage you, record them. I don't care if you've never done a journal, just get a little spiral notebook at least for 30 days.

Just, and I mean you don't have to write about three or four lines. But take a baby step. I'm going to say positive words to the people at work. I'm going to just, you know, I'm going to look for one person to help.

I'm going to take an extra five dollars. I don't care what you do. Do something and then write down. Second, celebrate daily God's blessings and record them.

So I think God does all kind of things and we don't, we just don't recognize it. I mean just sit up in bed, turn on that little light and you only have to write two or three lines. But just what, where did God bless me today? And just, I mean if you don't like to write it out, bullet point, bullet point, bullet point. And just do it for 30 days. I'm telling you, your awareness of God will skyrocket. And then finally, give your first and your best portion back to God each payday. Just, I mean just say, wow, by faith. And biblically, and we're not going to get into tithing and gross and net and all that.

But biblically, just 10% before the law, during the law, Jesus said something. It's probably a good place to start. But here's for some of you that might be like, you know, Mount Everest.

So you might want to go for a base camp. Here's what would be for everyone, give a percentage. Make the percentage, and this is between you and God. Lord, I'm going to start giving 2.5%. I'm going to give 6%.

I'm going to give 7%. But do something where you begin to build a track record where you're acting on the truth at whatever level of faith you have. And just see what God does.

Just see what He does. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. And the message you just heard, Understanding the Journey, is from our series, Living Generously.

Well, Chip will join us in studio to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. Generosity and considering others' needs above our own are not ideas that come naturally to anyone. So how can we become more giving people? Well, in this short series, Chip looks at Jesus' teaching on money and stewardship and reveals the roadmap to having a more generous, people-centered mindset. Discover how to develop an unselfish and giving spirit.

To learn more about this series, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org. Well, I'm joined by our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram, and Chip, insightful challenge today for every believer to reevaluate how we use, how we view, and how we think about money. Now, I've heard you say before that how we handle money is a good measurement of our faith. Now, what did you mean by that? Well, Dave, you know, I think we all long to believe that what we say and what we think really is who we are. And Jesus, in His day, talked so much and taught so much about money, not because He ever became rich, He was trying to get people's money, but our money is the mirror of our heart. Maybe think about it this way.

It's the MRI of your heart to know what's really in there. What do I really worship? What are my values?

What are my true motives? And what I would say is Jesus' teaching says, Your lips declare what you think matters, what your values are and what you worship. That's what your lips declare. Your money reveals where they really are. And so that's why He talks so much about that because, really, it's love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strength. And the competition for our heart is money.

It's the things that we think that can fill us up that money can buy, security, significance, impact, impressing others. And so, you know, it really has an impact here at Living on the Edge. When I think of the people who give to Living on the Edge, it's not just that they're giving us their money. We are so grateful. We are good stewards. We are using it in ways that really honor God and lives are being changed.

But to help people understand who God really is and create resources around that and reach the next generation and to say that we really want to make a difference to help Christians live like Christians in a crazy world that we're living in, when people give to the ministry, what they're really saying is, That's on my heart, too. I'm with you. We're partners. We're in it together. And so I just want to pause and I want to thank each and every one of you who are partners, who are on mission with us. Not because you say you are, but because your money is the mirror. It's the MRI that reveals that we are in this together.

And you know what? You're not only a part of making a difference, you will be a part of the reward as well. And so we want to pause today and say thank you.

Well, as Chip said, if you're already a financial supporter, we appreciate you. With your help, Living on the Edge is ministering to more people than ever. But if you're benefiting from this ministry in some way and haven't yet taken that step, now's a great time to join us. To send a gift or to become a monthly partner, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003.

That's 888-333-6003 or go to LivingOnTheEdge.org. App listeners, tap donate, and thanks for doing whatever God leads you to do. Well, with that, here's Chip to share a few final thoughts. As we close today's program, you know, let me ask you a question. What keeps you from being more generous?

Right? I mean, the logic of it, what I shared, what I taught, I know you know. Being generous is wise, smart, biblical, great. And I covered about four different reasons why we struggle with this. Let me just review them and I want to ask you which one of these do you feel like, ooh, that's the one I should address. Number one, human nature, right?

We all want, this is mine. The second one was delusional thinking, somehow thinking that you own it instead of, you know, this is a stewardship from God. And the third one was irrational fear, you know, this idea that, you know, if I give my time away or my money away, there won't be enough for me. And then finally, just that big greed and pride that gets you and me thinking that, you know, bigger, better, more. And what I want you to know is that you have to be intentional to intervene to become more generous.

In other words, you're not going to slide into becoming more generous. You have to build new habits and new ways of thinking. So let me give you, I mean, for today, just this week, here's what I want you to do. Two baby steps. I talked about baby step.

Baby step number one, get a little spiral notebook or take the note section on your phone. And literally, I mean, one or two minutes before you go to bed, I want you to just jot down two or three things where you experience generosity from God. This is how God was good to me. I just want you to begin to think and remember that he's been generous to you because that will change your mindset. The second thing is I would like you, depending on your financial status, it can be a dollar, it can be five, it can be ten, it can be twenty, and I want you to, for literally five, six, seven days in a row, whatever you choose, I want you to take, you know, maybe it's five one-dollar bills or five five-dollar bills or five ten-dollar bills or whatever number you want, and every day I want you to look for someone to give that to.

It could be a tip with a word, it could be a homeless person and ten-dollar meal, but I want you to be looking for how do I give away just this small amount of money. And here's what's going to happen. Having that in your pocket and looking for someone, it changes your mindset. It gets you thinking about others.

You're going to find an attitudinal change, and this might become a lifelong habit. Go for it. Thanks, Chip. And as we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is. If there's a way we can help, we'd love to do that. Give us a call at 888-333-6003 or connect with us at livingontheedge.org. And while you're there, take a moment and look through our resources on various topics, many of them absolutely free. Well, for Chip and the entire team here, this is Dave Druey thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. Music
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-21 05:34:39 / 2023-11-21 05:45:11 / 11

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