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The Generosity Matrix, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2024 9:00 am

The Generosity Matrix, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 15, 2024 9:00 am

When it comes to giving, many of us want rules to follow and boxes to check. As Pastor J.D. continues in the “First” series, he helps us see why, though our tithe is a great place to start, God wants our giving to display what is first and best in our hearts.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Jesus says all your stockpiled treasures here are about to be worthless. You can't take any of it with you but you can send it on ahead and when you realize this you will stop asking how much do I have to give and you'll start asking how much of this can I go ahead and transfer into eternity where I and others can enjoy forever. Thanks for joining us today here on Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. I'm your host Molly Vidovich. It seems when it comes to giving, many of us want rules to follow and boxes to check. This percentage, this charity, and this amount.

After all, then we'd know if we were doing it right. Today Pastor J.D. concludes the teaching series called First and he helps us see why, though our tithe is a great place to start, God wants our giving to display what is most important in our hearts. Only when we have surrendered all of our resources to the Holy Spirit and sought his direction will we be able to live sufficiently and give extravagantly.

Picking up where he left off yesterday, here's Pastor J.D. with teaching that he titled The Generosity Matrix. We see that God in Scripture gives excess to some and expects them to share with others. That is why he gave excess to some. State of 2 Corinthians 8, Paul says that God often gives excess to some of us in the moment so we can take care of those in need. In the story he uses to illustrate this, Paul uses the story of the manna. 2 Corinthians 8.

At this present time, right now, your abundance is a supply for their need. Just like it was written in the book of Exodus, he who gathered much did not have too much and he who gathered little had no lack. A reference to the story when they're in the wilderness and they don't have any food, so every morning God puts manna, this kind of bread from heaven, all over the ground.

How many of you would have been manna stockpilers, at least at the beginning? What would happen if God doesn't show up, but according to Paul, hey, that's how you should think about your stuff now. God gives you excess in the present, not so you can save it up as if he's not going to be faithful in the future. He gives you excess in the present to share with those that are in need right now. Say that you're a parent, you've got a third grade child, third grade son, and you hear that at your son's school, there's a kid in his class that's super poor. Never even brings anything for lunch, he's so poor. So you're packing your kids lunch that morning and instead of putting one sandwich in, you put two sandwiches and you give it to little Johnny to take and you forget when you give it to him to tell him why you put the extra sandwich in there.

Until lunchtime comes and then you remember, oh, I forgot to tell little Johnny about the two sandwiches. So you get in your car and you drive down to the school and because you go and tell them and right as you get there, you see little Johnny's out on the playground or wherever they're eating and you notice that he's got the two sandwiches in his hand and he looks kind of confused and then he notices the poorer child over here and he goes over and hands the sandwich to the poorer child. What do you as a parent feel at that moment? Do you feel like, are you proud or are you like, oh, my kid's going to grow up and be poor because he doesn't know how to save, right? You're going to put him in a Dave Ramsey class immediately because he needs to know how to save for the future. No, you'd be proud because instinctively he knew what to do with the excess.

In fact, if you saw him trying to save, if you saw him over there digging a little hole to try to bury the sandwich so that tomorrow he's got another one, you'd be like, what are you doing? I'm going to give you another sandwich tomorrow so the excess you have today is for the purpose of sharing with those that are in need around you. That's what Paul is saying about our excess provision right now. He's saying God gave us excess in the present to take care of the needs in the present. There are numerous places in the Bible that talk about our responsibility to the poor that are right in front of us. Proverbs 28, 27, those who close their eyes to the poor and walk on by, they will receive many curses. Those who give to the poor, they will lack nothing. Proverbs 3, 27, do not withhold good from those to whom it is due and it is in your power to act. When you see it and you've got the opportunity to meet the need, God holds you responsible for not meeting it.

The book of James tells us in the New Testament in three different places that if we see a brother suffering or we see a need and we have the capacity to help them and we do not help them, James says you cannot possibly be a person who's been transformed by the gospel. Those of us with a lot should give freely to those with a little. It's why Paul says God gives us excess. In fact, Paul considered the sharing of his resources for the spread of the gospel to be like a debt that he owed. Paul says in Romans 1, I'm a debtor both to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and the foolish. How could Paul feel like he was in debt to a group of people he'd never even met?

How could he possibly owe them something? I answered that by saying there's two ways to be in debt. One way of being in debt is the person could have loaned you something. The other way to be in debt is say, and here's the example I used, say you were CEO of Feed the Children and somebody gave you a million dollar donation to Feed the Children. Instead you put it in your bank account and said I'm going to live off the interest of that or I'm going to upgrade my house a few times. What would we say about you if you did that?

We would say you're not just a bad CEO, you're a thief. Because that money was not given to you for you, that money was given to you for them. You owe it to them. Paul said the resources that God gave to me were not given to me for me. My time, my treasure, and my talents, I owe it to people who have never heard.

And so I am in debt to them. That's why God gave me what he gave me in the present because of people who need Jesus today. God gives us access in the present to meet needs that are in front of us.

That's not to say you don't save any of it. I'll get to that in just a second. But some of you need to ask. Here's a good question. Why did God bring you to this church at this time? This is a church that God has obviously given a mission to. We live in one of the most strategic places in not just North Carolina but in America with 100,000 people. The population grows by 100,000 people every single year. We've got to plant churches.

We've got to expand campuses. If we're even going to keep up with the population growth, God has a mission for us and he brought you here at this time. And he brought you here and he gave some of you excess because he expects for you to meet the need that's right in front of you. That's principle number three. Principle number four. It can be wise to build wealth. Consider these very clear instructions in Proverbs. The crown of the wise, the glory of the wise is their wealth.

It didn't say it was something to feel guilty about. It was the glory of the wise is their wealth. The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance.

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your produce, then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with sweet tea. What is it saying he'll do? But don't turn that into a metaphorical thing either.

He's talking literally. God just loves it. He pours out and it's one of the signs that sometimes you're doing what you ought to be doing. Or how about this one? Go to the ant, old sluggard, and consider what you're doing. And consider her ways. She prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in the harvest. In other words, when she has opportunity, she saves. And she tucks it away because later, right, when it's winter comes, she's got it.

How about this one? Look at Proverbs 13 22. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. In other words, a good man, a wise man might leave an inheritance that blesses even his grandchildren.

That's a pretty significant wad of cash. So clearly God thinks it's wise to save even to invest. He commends it.

He even rewards it. Now again, if you hold this principle alone and not in tension with the others, it's going to lead you to the hoarding of wealth, something scripture clearly condemns. But nonetheless, the Bible indicates that we can and we should save responsibly.

In fact, it commands us to do that. It's also worthy of note that saving money and building wealth can actually increase your ability to be generous later. One of the most basic principles of economics is that money creates money. Albert Einstein was once famously asked, what's the most powerful force in the universe? His response, he thought for a minute, compound interest.

Seems to be able to do what nothing else can do. In Jesus's parables, he commended wise investment. In the parable of the talents, he praises the guy who's given five talents and two talents and five turns it into 10 and the two turns it into four.

He praises him and says, you did well. You took it, you multiplied it. Now you've got even more to be generous with. Again, you got to balance this with the other principles, but clearly saving and investing are part of a wise life.

That brings up another question I get a lot by the way. What do you do about generosity if you're in debt? Scripture says it's unwise to be in debt, right? So should you focus on paying off your debts? Is that where all your resources should go? And you kind of punt generosity until later? The short answer to that question is yes and no, okay?

Yes. Yes, you should get out of debt as quickly as possible, particularly if you've got unsecured or high interest loans like a credit card. When I say debt here, I'm not talking about things like a mortgage. Getting out of debt will increase your ability to be generous later because right now what you're handing in interest payments to American excess, you can instead divert to the kingdom of God. So yes, get out of debt. That's the yes part.

No, no. The no part of the answer is I would never suggest cutting generous giving out of your life entirely. For example, I would never stop tithing no matter how much debt I was in.

Why? Because generosity should always be a part of your spiritual life. Let me draw an analogy with your physical body. If you're sick, your body diverts a lot of energy to fighting that infection. That's why you get tired. But it doesn't divert all your energy to fighting the infection. Usually you stay conscious and you can perform other bodily functions that you need to do.

If it's extreme, you might go into a coma, but for the most part, usually it maintains the health of the body even while it fights the infection. Even when you are sick with debt, you shouldn't use all your financial resources to pay off that debt. You should use some of your money to be generous because generosity is an essential part of a healthy spiritual life at whatever stage you are, at whatever income level, whether you're in high school, college, whether you're a retiree, generosity is an essential part of a spiritual life. The Bible never teaches that we withhold giving until we are debt free. Bottom line, you should always honor God with the first and the best, what we often hear called the tithe.

Beyond that, I would suggest you listen to the Holy Spirit about when and how much to share with those in need. Because after all, it's his money, not yours. You're just a steward.

He's the owner. So you should say, hey, God, here's my situation. What do you want me to do with my money when I got people and I got mission needs in front of me? And listen to his direction. Principles number five, treasures in heaven are better than treasures on earth.

That's the fifth principle in this matrix. Treasures in heaven are always better than treasures on earth. You can't take any of your treasures with you, but you can send them on ahead. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew six, what he said, don't store up treasures on earth because moths and rust are going to corrupt them. Instead, you should store up treasures in heaven because they're moth and rust, can't touch them. In the same way, Jesus says, all your stockpiled treasures here are about to be worthless.

You can't take any of it with you, but you can send it on ahead. And when you realize this, you will stop asking, how much do I have to give? And you'll start asking, how much of this can I go ahead and transfer into eternity where I and others can enjoy forever? Number six, he says, look to God, not money, is your primary source of security and significance.

We've seen this a lot in the last couple of weeks. A lot of people give money first place in their hearts because they look to money to do one of two things that they really ought to be finding in God. It's either significance or security, depending on your personality. For some, money is happiness, money is significance, money is status, money is creature comforts in the present. And so when they get money, they spend it, they're spenders. For others, money is the way to feel secure in the future.

Those people are not spenders, they're savers. Like we saw in Matthew six, Jesus tells both groups, the spenders and the savers, that they ought to find their significance and their security in God. Doesn't mean you don't ever spend anything or save anything, just that you look to God first and foremost as your security and significance. And therefore you don't have to hold your money so tightly and you can obey God with it because he's your primary source for both of those things. And when you do that, what you'll find is that when you look at your budget, you'll start noticing that God, the kingdom of God is getting the first place, the biggest portion in your spending and your saving. It means you'll start to set limits on both your spending and your saving so that you can invest in the kingdom of God. You will spend sufficiently so that you can give extravagantly. You will save sufficiently so that you can give extravagantly. Most of us will save extravagantly and give sufficiently or will spend extravagantly and give sufficiently. Jesus says, if the kingdom of God is first, you'll see that's reversed.

You'll save, you'll spend sufficiently, but you will give extravagantly. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. If you'd like to know more about this ministry, visit us online at jdgreer.com. You know what? We appreciate you. Yes, you are listeners. We love being a source of encouragement for you each day because we know that there is no greater joy than having a relationship with Jesus. Did you know that these Summit Life broadcasts are only one of the ways that you can keep up with Pastor J.D. 's ministry? There are emails, blog posts, our entire sermon library, and so much more.

But if you're like me, I spend a good amount of time on my phone. Well, did you know that you can follow Pastor J.D. on social media?

Why not get some biblical wisdom and encouragement as you scroll? Just search for Pastor J.D. Greer on Facebook, at Pastor J.D. Greer on Instagram, and at J.D.

Greer on X, formerly Twitter. Follow along on all of your favorite social media platforms and stay up to date with this ministry while also filling up your timeline with encouragement from God's Word. Now let's get back to today's teaching from Pastor J.D.

Greer here on Summit Life. You see, friends, this is not about paying the 10% God tax and then moving on. For some of you, when the offering bucket comes by, you throw in a 10 or a 20 spot and then you move on. I'm gonna go ahead and tell you right now, God doesn't want your lunch money. God does not want to be tipped. He wants to be worshiped as the first and best in your life.

And that requires planning. It requires an intentional look at how you spend and how you save and say, I want God to be first. I'm not just gonna throw it in there when I feel moved because of the music or the sermon that I heard.

There's number seven, last one. Follow the Holy Spirit. If you grew up Baptist like I did, you're not super familiar with the Holy Spirit's leadership and things like this.

Most of us Baptists, we're not quite sure what the Holy Spirit does. I often compare it to what's like our pituitary gland. I know it's in there, I'm not even sure exactly where to point, to be honest with you. I know it's in there somewhere, right?

And I'm really grateful for it. I don't want to be without it, but I don't really relate to it and I'm not exactly sure what it does. And that's how you feel about the Holy Spirit.

I know he's in there somewhere bouncing around, but I don't want to lose him, but I'm not quite sure what he does in my life. But see, in the New Testament, in the book of Acts, they depended on the leadership of the Holy Spirit to show them what roles and sacrifice they were supposed to make. Because see, the mission is too big for any one person. And they needed the Holy Spirit to show them when and how to obey, when and how to sacrifice. I've told you, the Holy Spirit shows up 59 times in the book of Acts, 59. In 59 times, 36 of the 59, he is speaking.

Now I get it, I get it. Book of Acts was a special time. There were some unique things happening. The apostles were writing the Bible. That's a special chapter of history. But you cannot convince me that the only book that we have that describes for us what it looks like to walk with the Spirit, you can't convince me that's filled with a bunch of stories of people whose experiences have nothing in common with us.

This doesn't make sense. They depended on the leadership of the Holy Spirit. If you and I are going to do what we're supposed to do, it's going to be because we're very in touch and the Holy Spirit is speaking to us about what sacrifices we're supposed to make. Otherwise, you'll live overwhelmed and paralyzed like I did for a long time.

Because the mission is just too big. There's always, there's so much need, right? It's like my friend Larry Osborne, who I already quoted before, he said this to me too. He said, JD, you got to understand, not everything that comes from heaven has your name on it. Something does. And God will want you to sacrifice radically for that thing. But not everything that comes from heaven has your name on it.

And there's a lot of needs that are really good that are not necessarily assigned to you. You got to depend on the leadership of the Holy Spirit. By the way, I read recently the denomination that does the best job mobilizing its people for giving and going in mission. What denomination do you think that is? When I was reading the article, I was like, oh, it's got to be Baptist. Because nobody can do a guilt offering like a Baptist can do, right? Amen?

And we talk about missions more than anybody else. The article said, you might think it would be the Baptist. I'm like, I did think it was the Baptist. He said, but you would be wrong. The denomination that does the best job is the Pentecostals, right? And somebody's like, yes, that's my heritage, right?

Great. So why are Pentecostals so effective? And he said, because, he said, at Baptist churches, they talk about the weightiness of the task, and you just end up feeling crushed by the need.

You should always be doing more, right? He said, at Pentecostal churches, they talk about the leadership of the Spirit. And the article said, evidently being Spirit-driven is more motivating than being guilt-driven. Because the Spirit will show you what you are supposed to do with what he gave to you.

Now, I got to emphasize, I got to emphasize, if you follow this principle without the other six, it won't lead you to the right place. That only works when you've already got a heart that has been shaped by the gospel and is eager to give. Otherwise you'll use this principle and say, well, I just never really felt anything.

And so I just, you know, that's why I never really gave anything. A person who's been shaped by the gospel is eager to give, excited to give, looking for opportunities to give. And then that kind of heart that is looking earnestly for places to give and to share and to invest in God's kingdom, that's where the Spirit comes in and begins to speak. If you're the kind of person who sort of has money as your significance and your security, you'll just drown out the voice of the Spirit. And when he tries to speak, you will shut him up. You've got to have a heart that is shaped by these other six principles. And then the Spirit of God will begin to guide you. So that's them, friends. That's our seven principles. So you're sitting there and here's what you're saying. You're like, pastor JD, I've been waiting patiently for the whole sermon. So what's the conclusion?

How much am I supposed to give? Right? I can tell what some of you are thinking. You just want a law. It would just be so much easier with a rule, a box to check. But like I told you in the beginning, I cannot give you one. Because the New Testament doesn't give one. True, in the Old Testament, the minimum was the tithe, the 10%.

And that's a great place to start. But in the New Testament, it doesn't give you a rule. It gives you principles. Principles you're supposed to hold intention.

And instead, what the New Testament starts to do is focus on your heart. See, the primary questions that you're supposed to ask yourself in generosity is, is God getting my first and my best? What's getting my first and my best? Is it saving? Is it spending?

Or is it the kingdom of God? Here's the other question, second question. What is my money revealed about what I love most and trust most? What is just my spending reveal about what I love most, trust most? What does it reveal about what kingdom I'm actually living for?

This one or that one? Here's the third question. Have I surrendered all my resources to the Holy Spirit and listened for His voice? Hey, friend, have you ever said, hey, here's my house, here's my job, here's my savings account, my 401k, or my cars.

Here's everything. What do you want with this? Show me I just want to obey you. Maybe you don't have anything. Maybe you're at the beginning of your career and you just say, God, whatever it is, I just want it all to belong to you. I can't play the Holy Spirit in your life. That's why I need you to take these seven principles, hope you wrote them down, and I need you to go home and wrestle with them and listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit as as He guides you. Let me close all this by giving, talking to three different groups of you real quick.

First of all, there's some of you in here that are not aware of the Holy Spirit, first of all, there's some of you in here that I would call you faithful tithers. And since you were eight years old, you've been given 10% of everything you got. Hey, and that's awesome.

That's a great place to start. But I'd say for some of you, you've never actually moved into the realm of Christ-like giver, because you've looked about like a God tax, and then you've used the other 90% for what you wanted to do with it. My challenge for you is for you to take that 10% and leave it behind. And for you to start to say, God, what represents my first and my best, and what represents me using my resources for the world the way you use yours for me. Right? Take that step. Here's a second group of you. There's some of you that have never really given in a substantial way to the kingdom of God.

Right? And my challenge for you is to take that first step and start giving. Scripture calls you, Jesus calls you to a life of generosity and trust and joy. In fact, He promises that He will bless you in it. And I know, I know, I know you can abuse this. But some of you right now, when I talk about like giving the first 10% back to God, you just break out in sweats and you're going to have night terrors.

Look, we never afford that. Malachi 3.10, God says, trust me and test me and watch how I pour out abundance on you. He'll just overflow. That's what I'll be like. And you just got to trust God.

This is going to be a major mile marker in your life. It's like a couple I've told you about. David Jeremiah, pastor friend told me, he said, there's a couple of his church who came to him and they were convicted. They want to start giving. And so they're like, pastor Jeremiah, we want to give, but we just felt like we can't do it and make our, pay our bills. And Dr. Jeremiah said, well, tell you what, why don't you write a check out for what 10% would be and give it to me.

I'll put it in an envelope, put it in the front of my desk and my drawer, and I won't cash it till the end of the month. And if you come to me before the end of the month and you don't have enough money to make ends meet, I'll tear it up, give it back to you. He said, do you want to do that?

And they said, oh, that sounds reasonable. Dr. Jeremiah said, I looked at them and I said, shame on you because you just said you trust your pastor more than you trust God because that's what God promised. Test me and see if I don't make things work. Trust me by making it the first and the best.

Here's the third group. There's a group of you in here that have gotten in the habit of throwing in a tip to God when you feel so moved. It might even be a generous tip, but I'm going to tell you, this is the worst kind. If we're going to be serious as disciples of Jesus, our generosity ought to be regular. It ought to be intentional. It ought to be planned. It ought to be structured in a way that our whole spending, saving, our whole budget structure is set up to declare that God is first. Listen, God has got a life for you, a life of meaning and significance, a life where he gets you to invest your treasures in eternity. He has a plan for what he gave you, whether it's a little or a lot, and he wants you to be faithful in it.

And that's where an exciting life starts. Today, Pastor JD Greer finished laying out the principles of the generosity matrix here on Summit Life. If you missed the beginning of this message, you can catch up free of charge at jdgreer.com. Here at Summit Life, we want you to grow as a disciple of Jesus and live the way that he's called each of us to live. To help you do that, our featured resource right now is a 60-day devotional called One Day at a Time, written by a friend of the ministry, Pastor Kyle Eidelman. It's all about learning to see people the way that God does and in turn loving them the way that he does.

We could all use some practice in this area, right? We'd love to send you a copy with your gift to the ministry. Give us a call at 866-335-5220.

That's 866-335-5220. Or you can give online at jdgreer.com. While you're on the website, don't forget to sign up for our weekly newsletter. Get ministry updates, information about new resources, and Pastor JD's latest blog post delivered straight to your inbox.

It's a great way to stay connected with Summit Life, and it's completely free to subscribe. Sign up when you go to jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us Friday when we begin a new teaching series called Forever Family.

We'll study what Jesus taught about romance, marriage, singleness, family, and more. We'll see you Friday right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-15 12:32:24 / 2024-02-15 12:44:16 / 12

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