How God Makes Giving Joyful Again

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How does God make giving money away joyful? When we give money away, we feel like we’re giving away our freedom, our security, our control, our power, our social status. If we are to begin to find giving money away joyful again, we need good news! Only the good news of Christ speaks more powerfully to our hearts than money does.

  

The Good News that Makes Giving Joyful

What is the good news that grows our joy in giving money away? Christ and all in Him is ours! We are heirs of the world to come. We have an inheritance kept in heaven for us, and we are kept by God until we enjoy it. We are God’s children and He cares for us. To all who receive Him, Christ gives the right to become children of God. As our Father, God sees us. He knows our needs. Therefore, we do not need to be either paralyzed by worry or chase things feverishly—as though we are on our own and no one is looking after us.

Rejoicing in this good news and speaking it to the greed or fear that grips our hearts is what enables us to give joyfully. God has put us in such a position that it is a joy to give.

Because of this great news, we encourage members, where possible, to experience the joy of getting to give during worship services (or online†) as an expression of glad adoration to God. When we give, we are saying that He, not money, is our God and our true treasure.

 

Generous Master or “Hard Man”: Rethinking the Parable of the Talents

God calls us to be good stewards of the lives He's given us. That includes how we use the money He's entrusted to us. But how can we be? In Matthew 25 Jesus told the parable of the talents to show us: it comes down to how we view God.

All the way back in Genesis 3, Satan made God out to be a “hard man.” We can’t trust Him. First he said to Eve, “Has God really said you can’t eat from any tree?” Eve denied it: “No, we can eat from any tree. Just not the one—or we’ll die.” That’s when Satan pounced. “So it is true! So typical. He always keeps the best for Himself. You won’t die! He’s just trying to keep you under His thumb. He knows if you eat of the tree, you’ll become His equals. Your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, determining for yourself what is good and what is evil.” That lie went deep into the human heart. It is why we struggle to give. We do not trust God to look after us. We suspect He is a “hard man.”

Parables are meant to get us thinking. First, they often surprise us. They take something familiar and give it a strange twist. In the parable of the talents, the strange twist comes when the master says to the first two servants: “Enter into your master’s joy.” No master ever spoke like that! It was almost inconceivable. This master was virtually adopting his servants and welcoming them to share in his wealth! Secondly, parables often establish, then break a pattern. The first two servants find the master to be absurdly generous. That sets the stage for the third servant, who says the master is a “hard man.” We know from the first two servants that he’s not! This third servant is lying. He makes the master out to be aggrandizing himself at the cost of his servants’ hard work. “You reap where you do not sow.” The master, being wise, saw through this servant and exposed his lie.

Jesus told this parable to challenge how we view God. Is He a “hard man” or an absurdly generous master? He wants us to answer once-for-all who God really is. He knows that unless we come to see Him as He truly is—the kind of master who invites unworthy servants like us to share in His joy, we will never be good stewards. We will never use the money God has entrusted to us money wisely.


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