19th May 2013

40 DOC - Giving and Worshiping together

By Jane Tricker

 

Main reading: 2 Corinthians chapter 9. 
 
 
Our last 40 days of community session is about giving and worshipping together. 
 
The key to worshiping is giving. It’s about Acknowledging what God has given us, and then us giving all we have ( our gifts, time, money etc) so that we can be closer to God. Worship is our response and a time for us to connect to the one who gives to us. 
 
The reading was 2 Corinthians chapter 9. And Paul is writing to the Corinthians about honouring the Gift that they had promised to give. He’s trying to remind and encourage them in their giving. 
 
V2 – your enthusiasm has stirred them into action. 
 
I love how the passage starts with such encouragement to the Corinthians rather than being like a nagging parent or teacher. Rather than Paul just saying you promised this now its time to cough up. He tells them that others have been really encouraged by their actions. For a while now we have been encouraged as a church to share with one another how God is working in our lives. And over that time I have seen and heard people saying how by that person sharing it has spoken to them and encouraged them. And when I’ve spoken at the all age people have told me of things that have spoken to them. And through that I then have been encouraged and that’s given me more confidence to share again and be bold in speaking out the words that God has given me. ( kids at Spring harvest) 
 
By being together as a church community and sharing with one another and giving to one another. We can be encouraged in our own walk. By stirring others into action we too can be stirred into continuing our actions. It takes determination to keep going in our walk with God so let’s continue to share with one another and be stirred into action. 
 
We need to believe that God uses everyone, no matter how old they are no matter how long they have been a Christian. God has something to say to build up his community of believers and you better start believing that he has chosen you to do it.
 
V5 a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given 
 
Its sometimes easy to say we will give something weather it’s our time or money and then when it comes down it and we have thought about it maybe we are not so willing to actually go through with the giving. We have thought about it and now it has become too costly to our time, our finances. Something better has come up and we no longer want to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of someone else. 
 
Maybe we have talked ourselves out of the giving and then become bitter or resentful. Maybe we have promised we would support someone or go to an event and when it comes to it we don’t really want to go. We often do it anyway because we want to honour what we have promised but we find ourselves complaining. 
 
In this chapter we are reminded that it’s not about how much we give but our attitude. Our attitude to using the things that God has given us for his purpose. Our motivation in giving ourselves to worship, God through our actions. 
 
Like the Corinthians, our giving should be generous, sacrificial, well planned and based on need. Our generosity not only helps those in need but enables them to thank God. 
 
When we grasp that our whole being, the gifts we have been given, the talents we have been given the skills we have been given, the time we have been given,  the finances we have been given, don’t actually belong to us but to God. then our attitude to giving those away becomes very different. It becomes one of generosity and joy and we will want to freely give. Widow who gave something small – Luke 21 1-4.  Are will willing to give all we have in a society that says what about me? 
 
V6 Who ever sows generously will also reap generously. 
 
I said earlier about how we can be encouraged by sharing together and encouraging each other to share and telling people how their experience has encouraged them. When we give of ourselves, when we obey God in his calling then we will reap. We will be blessed abundantly by God. 
 
 example of giving presents and our joy and happiness when we have given to others and made them happy. 
 
Sometimes this  means we need to give of our time and invest it in God and studying his word and getting to know him connecting  to the source so that we can first hear and receive before giving out to others. if we only concentrate our time on looking to Do then we will run out of time to Be. Be in the presence of God spending time with him receiving  his refreshing and knowledge and blessing before we can sow in our community. In our eagerness to serve we must be rooted in Christ knowing what he has put on our hearts to give. 
 
V7 – for God loves a cheerful giver. 
Are we being cheerful.
 
I’m going to do it because I’m being faithful, but don’t expect me to be happy about it.( a Jonah moment ) who has ever thought that. Be honest. 
 
 It’s all about our heart attitude. If we are seeking God and completely trusting our lives to him then we won’t be reluctant to give. When we don’t connect with God we can lose sight of His plan for our lives and let worry in. Worry that if we give our time we won’t be able to do the things we want, if we give our finances we won’t have enough to meet our own needs. This passage reminds us that we don’t need to worry because God is able to meet our needs. We can give cheerfully when our faith in God is strong enough. but when we lack faith we can allow our worry to rob us of the joy that comes from giving. Acts 2 v 44-47
 
 
V8 We will be blessed abundantly. 
 
We are reminded that when we have faith and give,  God will Bless us and ensure that we have all we need. Proverbs 11 v 25.  It’s not a maybe or he will consider it, it’s an assurance from God that if we completely surrender our lives to him then he will provide for our needs. What we often forget is that he promises to provide for our needs not our wants. 
 
V 11 you will be enriched.
 
Again another will be not may be. We will be enriched by God we will be given more gifts, we will be given more responsibility to give and care for others. We are not called to share the gospel with just one person, or share on just one occasion, or use just one gift and then tick it off the list. 
 
Told someone about jesus – tick. Never have to do that again
Given money to the Lords work – tick. My finances are sorted for the rest of my life, 
 
The more he gives us the more he will require us to use. Remember its not ours, our gifts, our money our time, these things are Gods and he wants us to use them for his work. We need to be storing our treasure in heaven, not here on earth. 
We need to enjoy what god has given us, but we also need to share it. 
 
V 12 over flowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
 
When we give ourselves and serve, we will be overflowing with worship. Because of the joy and blessings that we receive when we do his will we won’t be able to keep it in. When we serve others we are expressing his love in our actions. We are giving back because he has first given. 
 
I reach up high and touch the ground
I stomp my feet and I turn around
I’ve got to (woo-hoo!) Praise the Lord!
I jump and dance with all my might
I might look funny but that’s alright
I’ve got to (woo-hoo!) Praise the Lord!
 
I’ve got to praise the lord. If we are willing to give Him everything. The whole of our lives in worship to him then we won’t be able to contain ourselves. We will want to stomp our feet and jump and dance and we won’t care if we look funny because we will be so compelled to praise him for all he has done, is doing and will do in our lives. We will want to share him with others. 
I’ll do anything just for my Lord
For He’s done everything for me
Doesn’t matter who is looking on
Jesus is the person that I want to please!
Can we honestly say that we will do anything for our lord. It doesn’t matter who is looking. My focus is on pleasing God. In Worshiping him through giving my life, my time, my money, my praise, my worship. 
May my whole life be a song of praise
To worship God in every way
In this song the actions praise His name
I want my actions everyday to do the same
In this song my actions praise his name. I want my actions every day to do the same. Do we really want that?. Do we really want our actions to praise his name every day. Well if we do then we need to give. We need to give of ourselves to God, we need to give ourselves to each other as a community of believers, and we need to give ourselves to those who don’t know him. Not giving out of compulsion, grudgingly, but sparingly and cheerfully. 
 
 
V 13 Because of our service others will praise God.
When we live generously, our hearts have been cleansed of our own self interest and filled with the servant spirit of Jesus. As a result of this Others will See Jesus in your actions, and praise him for all he has done. 
 
 
V15 Because of  his indescribable gift 
 
Giving of ourselves, our time, our finances and our gifts shouldn’t be difficult as we remember the gift that God has given us. His only son, who died a painful death, all so we could have life. We give as he has given us. John 3:16 – for god so loved the world that he gave his only son for us. . 1 John 3 v 16 as Christ laid down his life for us we are called to do the same for others. 
 
 
Worshipping as a community is about giving to our community, to each other. It’s a personal and collective expression of our gratitude for what God has done. It’s a longing to know more of God and his purpose for our lives and the world. 
 
When we worship together it leads to deeper fellowship. Unless we come together and share our lives and struggles together then we won’t be able to grow as a community of believers. 
 
You may be doing a great job at speaking to people and telling them about Jesus, sharing his love and character inviting them church.  But unless we can get it right in here, then you are fighting a losing battle. Because when they turn up on a Sunday morning there is no evidence of what you are talking about. 
 
If we are to be an effective church and community of believers then we need to start to build deeper relationships with each other. 
We need to start being real with how we are feeling with no fear that people will judge us when we share. How many times has someone stood up the front and shared,  and the rest of us listening have told them to shut up, or sit down because you’re wasting our time. We need to reject the fear of rejection. We need to share real feelings. 
 
Turn to someone sitting near you and tell them how you felt when you woke up this morning. Did you want to come to church or not. Be honest with each other. 
 
Your honesty matters. If you just told someone you didn’t want to be here this morning I can guarantee that there is someone else in the room that is feeling the same way, and actually what they wanted to here is that there are other people who equally are finding it tough to be here and need the reassurance that they are normal and that Christians do go through tough times and struggles and just want to give up. Being honest allows us to be able to pray for each other and each other’s needs. When we make ourselves vulnerable then our community will grow, and develop and be more equipped to faithfully give in worship to God. 
 
Its only by coming together and sharing our struggles that we can pray for each other. We can’t pray if we dont know each others struggles. 
 
Giving shouldn’t be seen as an obligation it’s an opportunity to build our faith. Its an investment for eternity. When we give together we can do so much more than when we try to do things on our own. Over the past few weeks in the house groups we have been encouraged to do something for someone in need. Working together as small groups of people to bless someone else. When we do it together we can achieve greater things than we can on our own. 
 
We have come to the end of our formal 40 days of community sessions but it’s not the end of being community. 
 
So lets 
1. look at what matters most, 
2. reach out together, 
3. belong together, 
4. grow together, 
5. serve together 
6. worship together.