The Privilege of Sharing

Introduction

  • Wk1 - The importance of giving our First Fruits

  • Wk2 - Obedience > Sacrifice - It unlocks God’s favor and blessing and your life

First fruits mean offering to God our very best without hesitation or regret. This includes our finances, time, gifts, and whatever he asks from us.

Warning to the Crowds

Luke 20:45–47 NLT - Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”

  • These religious leaders and teachers have stopped putting God first.

A Widow’s Offering

Luke 21:1-2 NLT - While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

  • In the temple, people gave money into 13 different receptacles called “trumpets,” located in the Court of Women. Each receptacle had a different purpose: Temple tribute, taxes, fees, etc.

Luke 21:3–4 NLT - “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

  • If you want your giving to go the distance you’ve got to give the right way — in obedience; in surrender.

Luke is not prescribing an amount required to give to earn God’s approval. This is a study in attitudes and hearts. He shows us the devastating effects that take place when God isn’t first in our lives and contrast those to the poor widow who give everything she had to live on. The latter is held up as an example to be followed, the former as a warning and caution to “comfortable” believers.

>>> The Apostle Paul in a letter to the church in Corinth, shows what this looks like at a corporate level.

The Privilege of Sharing

2 Corinthians 8:1–5 NLT - Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

  • In his letter, Paul is seeking for financial assistance for impoverished fellow believers in Jerusalem.

  • Paul used this picturesque language to explain how a church that seemed unlikely to make a financial impact, actually served God’s mission more than other churches.

2 Corinthians 8:7–9 NLT - Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches. You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

2 Corinthians 8:10-11 CSB - And in this matter I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it. And in this matter I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it.

  • You don’t have to. You get to.

  • Mantra: We don’t just give until it hurts. We give until it stops hurting.

2 Corinthians 8:12 NLT - Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

  • Paul reiterates his point that this is not a command.

  • Let your eagerness lead to completion.

  • Paul’s point is that giving should not be out of mere routine or coercion, but out of our obedience and love for Christ.

Summary

In this series, we’ve learned that offering first fruits means offering God our best without hesitation. And we’ve learned that neglecting to keep God first has unexpected results.

The example of the poor widow and the Macedonians, shows us that giving is a voluntary gesture that takes incredible faith and trust in God. They show us that anyone can participate, regardless how small or large the gift is. God is less interested in the amount we give than the attitude with which we give. Individually and collectively, our offerings come together to make an impact that can change the world.

Finally, these examples show us that this matters to God. He takes notices and His worked is glorified when we offer Him our best.