Giving...Is it Futile?

Giving...Is it futile?
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
January 15th, 2017
Image courtesy of happykanppy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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Giving…Is it futile?

I want to thank everyone who had a hand in making our mobile pantry successful.  Whether you were here in person or whether you were here in spirit.  Whether you donated money or whether you simply prayed for the event.  Everyone’s effort made a difference yesterday.  We served over 188 families, which represents over 584 people.

But you know, a while back we talked about Ecclesiastes.  And in Ecclesiastes, King Solomon, who was known for his incredible wisdom says…

“Absolute futility,” says the Teacher.
“Absolute futility. Everything is futile.”
Ecclesiastes 1:2

Hard words to hear after we put so much effort into the mobile pantry!  But really King Solomon is right.  People will be hungry again and even Jesus says “We will always have the poor.” (Matthew 26:11) So, what’s the point…  is it really futile?  Is there really a point?

The short answer is- Yes, of course there is!

The first benefit of giving, is not a benefit for the person who gives but instead it is a benefit for those who receive..

One of our key scriptures from last week was…

Matthew 25:35-40
For I was hungry
and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty
and you gave Me something to drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 I was naked and you clothed Me;
I was sick and you took care of Me;
I was in prison and you visited Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or without clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and visit You?’
40 “And the King will answer them, ‘I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’

The people who came to our mobile pantry were hungry and they were thirsty.  For some this is their only access to this much food (something we take for granted).  Many of these folks have needs…real needs!

But the reward here, is not for us, it is for them. For some the reward is hope, a hope that now they can make it to next week (something we take for granted).  For some the reward is interaction with people (something we take for granted).  For some the reward is feeding their family…(what a small reward that many of us take for granted).

So, this is why we do it - because some of the things that we take for granted: having milk when we want it…having a pantry that is full….having interaction with people on a daily basis…all of those things that we are blessed with abundantly….and take for granted…Is a reward for them.

The second reason that God asks us to do this is that there is a benefit for the giver as well.  And that benefit is:
God changes us when we give.  

Philippians 1:6
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you[a] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

When we are obedient to the spirit and to God’s commands he begins to change us…And giving is a command.

Hebrews 13:16
Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices.

Luke 3:10-11
“What then should we do?” the crowds were asking him.
11 He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts[a] must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.”

So, these are things God commanded us to do but remember this:  the commands in the Bible are not give to us to try and control us, but instead it is to help transform us back into how we were originally created.

So, when God asks us to help one another and give, it is not just to make us jump through hoops and it is not ONLY to help those in need but it is also for the purpose of transforming us back into the generous and giving people we were created to be.

So, these are the reasons we give and why it is not futile because sometimes the things we take for granted are a big deal to those in need and because our reward is change and restoration.

Is it time you start giving?


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