Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
January 8th, 2017
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I were to be honest with you…Giving isn’t always easy for me and I don’t always have the right attitude about it.  It is easier to give when I’m giving to people I know really need it, or I’m giving to people who I know are earnestly trying to better themselves. But having a generous heart towards people in other situations is sometimes tough.  Like when I know that they are where they are, because of their own bad decisions and I know they are going to keep making them (i.e. drug use or frivolous spending such as buying a new TV when they don’t even have rent money).

But scripture tells us we should be cheerful when giving.
2nd Corinthians 9:7
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

As Christians giving and helping someone in need should be as natural as breathing to us, so when it isn’t, we must work to change that.  So, the question becomes…

What Prevents us from being a Cheerful Giver?

1. No Money -

The first thing that can get in our way of giving to other people with a cheerful heart is when we have no money.  It’s hard to give when you don’t have much to give…especially, when we aren’t confident it’s going to actually help, or not be used the way it should be…(i.e. beer and cigs). But what people do with what we give them ,is not on us…that is between them and God.

So, how do we give cheerfully, when we don’t have a lot to begin with?

To do this, we need to understand that we are not giving away what is ours, instead we are giving out of God’s abundance.

I Chronicles 29:14-16
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 
…16 Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.

So, all that we have comes from God.  We are simply passing the mashed potatoes.  Think of it this way, if we were to go to work and take our own lunch…we don’t typically share that, right?  We made it for ourselves, and we really don’t have enough to go around etc.

And this is sometimes how we treat what God gives us…as though we earned it, as though it is ours, and as though we only have enough for ourselves.

But if we are invited to dinner where the host has provided the food, then it is easy to share.  And if someone asks for mashed potatoes, we simply pick up the bowl and pass it to them.

This is what scripture tells us. What we have comes from God (He is the host) and He has blessed us with much.  So, when someone asks for some mashed potatoes we can pick up the bowl and pass it because we know that Jesus can and will provide for all of our needs.  When we come to this understanding it helps us get passed a hard heart.

2. Judgement

The second thing that can get in the way of giving with a cheerful heart is judgement.  Remember this, a Judging heart gets in the way of a cheerful heart!

And anytime we have the thought:

Well, I’m not giving to them because…
Because they are just looking for a handout…
Because they are just going to go buy alcohol…
Because they aren’t even trying…

Then there is judgement in our hearts…

Matthew 7:1-3
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

This scripture says we shouldn’t judge them because we will be judged the same way.  And in those moments, when we think “I’m not giving because…” we are judging them based just on what we see in a matter of a few seconds.

Do you want to be judged that way?  Would you like your whole life to be judged on just a few seconds during your lowest point in life?

Of Course not!!  The thing is, we don’t know why they are where they are.  We don’t know how they came to be in a position of need. We simply don’t people’s backstory…and even if we did we would still be judging from a physical viewpoint, when true judgement (that can only come from God) comes from a spiritual point of view (I Samuel 16:7).

3. Forgetting Who We are Giving To 

The last thing that gets in our way of giving with a cheerful heart, is that we forget who we are helping.  I think we often look down on the people we help.  It’s a natural thing for us to do…(I’m not saying it’s right…I’m just saying…it’s a tendency humans have).  Perhaps we look at the homeless and those in poverty as those who have failed at life or perhaps we look at them as people who have probably rejected Jesus or perhaps we look at them as a different people.

But this is not how we should see them…it is not how we should see anybody!!! Instead here is what we need to remember….

Proverbs 22:2
Rich and poor have this in common:
    The Lord is the Maker of them all.

God made them, just as he made us…
They have the same potential that we have…(keep in mind we are talking spiritually…we all have different physical and intellectual potentials).  But we all have the same potential to be the children of God and to be restored to perfection.

Every single person we run into…whether they are Christian or not, whether they are good or bad, whether they are rich or poor, prince or pauper, young or old has the same spiritual potential to be saved and restored by our creator.   Because we were all created by God.

So, when we help “the least of these,” we are helping on of God’s creations and a fellow human being.

Matthew 25:31-40
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels[f] with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations[g] will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 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.’

We have to see people…all people… with the dignity of being a creation of God.  This is what Human dignity is all about:  Treating people with the potential that God sees in them not the potential we see in them. If WE cannot see them this way…It makes it much more difficult for them to see themselves this way and come to accept Jesus as their savior?

Have you been giving with a Cheerful Heart?

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