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Creflo Dollar - The Blessing of Giving

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If you have your Bibles, go with me again to the book of Galatians chapter 1. We're really going to get into some things and last week I began the series about "Grace-Based Finances," and the reason why I wanted to talk about this is because when we're talking about giving all month long, and I believe that the reflexes of every Christian, giving should be a reflex. It should be just a part of the character. It's what happens when you get saved. It's a reflex when you get born again. And, you know, you show me a Christian who's not a giver and I'll show you a Christian who's doubting his identity. That should be a reflex. And not only is giving the reflex of a Christian, it is also an expression of your trust in God.

Now, in these series, especially Wednesday and on Sunday, you're going to begin to examine that most of your focus has been on the giving of money versus the giving of trust. It is giving of money that authenticates your trust. And so as we look at these Scriptures, you're going to begin to see that. You're going to begin to see they gave their trust. Yes, they gave their money, but they gave their trust. When you look at that widow's mite and Jesus was there looking at it, she gave her trust. And, you know, it's a huge indictment that, you know, even on the money, on our currency, it is in God we trust. So if Paul is the standard by which the preaching of grace is to be measured, and I believe he is, then we've got to examine what and how he taught on finances and what he had to say about giving. What did the apostle of grace have to say about giving?

So if we examine his writings closely, they're going to be many grace truths to be learned in this particular area. So Galatians chapter 1, verse 1. Why would we say this here to lay this foundation here? Galatians chapter 1 and verse 8 and 9. Verse 8 says, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed". Notice what he's saying here. He says if you preach any other gospel, if you preach any gospel or anything that Paul did not preach, okay? The gospel is also the good news, but he makes it clear here. You, "Preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you," so, you know, the gospel's not just the good news, but it's also that which Paul preached unto them.

And so if you find, well, sometimes you'll find people saying, "This is the gospel". and Paul didn't preach that, and so that's what you got to be careful as you define it. When Paul preached it, it was called the gospel. You can't call it the gospel and Paul didn't preach it, you see. And so he says, "Let him be accursed". But then in verse 9 he says it again. "As we said before, so say I now again. If any man preach any other gospel unto you, than that you have received," you know, from Paul, he said, "let him be accursed". So if we're going to talk about giving, and we know that Paul preached the gospel, then I want to hear and examine and see what did Paul have to say about the subject of giving. And if we can at least see what Paul had to say about the subject of giving, we will remain within the framework of grace-based giving and begin to examine what Paul had to say versus maybe even some of the things we've gotten in religion. If you understand all that, say amen.

So what are the things that Paul preach as it relates to grace-based finances? Well, number one, Paul taught proportional giving. He taught proportional giving. In other words, that what we give should be proportional to how God has given to us, and that no matter what season we may be in financially, we are able to give and to give generously. So I want to look at and stay focused tonight on just what Paul had to say. So Paul taught proportional giving and he taught that we should be able to give generously. Let's begin in 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and 6 and let's examine these four Scriptures as we look at what Paul had to say about giving. 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and verse 6, he says, "But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully".

So the first thing Paul is saying here is that, as a giver, you determine the measure of your return. Now, I think that's awesome because that's called authority. You have the authority to determine your measure of return. You don't have to hope and pray and wonder. You have been given the authority to measure out and, based on what you measure out, it can be measured to you again. So Paul said, "If you sow sparingly, then you're going to reap the same way". Paul said, "If you sow bountifully," he says, "you're going to reap the same way". So what's the principle that Paul puts here? However you measure it out, it's how it's going to be measured again.

You know, I believe that we're in a season of extravagant favors, but I also believe that if we let things like giving slip and, you know, we're just not as conscious about it as we were before, then I think we put ourselves in a position, it's the same thing. If you sow sparingly, you'll reap sparingly. If you sow bountifully, you'll reap bountifully. If you sow zero, you'll reap zero, and believe it or not, there are lots of Christians who have gotten to the point where they just don't sow anything anymore, but you're a Christian. Your reflex should be giving. Giving, I mean, you should not be able to see somebody in a situation and not be moved to try to do whatever you can do, and that's where I'm trying to get us. We're trying to raise up a community in our church where it is a non-judgmental community, but it's also a community in church where we're sensitive to when somebody else has a need and we've been blessed. God only holds us responsible for doing as he has blessed us to do. No more than that. No more than that.

So the first thing we see here is that, number one, Paul said that however you measure it out, that's how it's going to be measured to you again. Now, look at 1 Corinthians chapter 16 and 2. I find this to be very interesting, and this is all dealing with proportional giving, that what we give should be proportional to how God has given to us, and that's what it is. What you give is proportional to how God's given to you. A guy who makes $100,000 a year versus a guy who makes $30,000 year, I thought it was an ingenious idea that God had. Give 10%, you'll give the same. It's not going to be the same amount, but you give proportionally, you know. So now watch this, he says, verse 2, "Upon the first day of the week," that's Sunday, "let every one of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come".

Now this is interesting because, here's the situation, here Paul said, "I'm not going to take an offering when I come so I need you to lay aside, lay in store". The first word I thought about when I saw this Scripture was purposeful giving, purposeful giving. It's not, "Well, I'll go to church, and when offering comes, let me see what I got in my bag". It's, "I'm giving with a purpose". and he said, "Lay it aside". You plan on giving. So you plan on it to such a point lay it aside, and he was instructing them to lay it aside the first day of the week, lay it aside, and he said as God has prospered him. Again, there it is again. As God has prospered you.

You know, you don't ever have to worry about giving $10,000 if God hadn't prospered you to the point where you can give $10,000. But as he has prospered you, lay something aside. And then I thought this was interesting. He said, "Let every one of you". So he's talking about everybody participating. Let every one of you. So it includes everybody. Let every one of you lay by him in store as God's prospered him that there be no gathering for an offering when he comes. So that's scriptural and that's something that Paul said as far as the proportional giving as well. Look at 2 Corinthians chapter 8 and 2, 2 Corinthians chapter 8 and 2. I'm trying to convince you that under the new covenant of grace, giving is a reflex. It's something that is expected of Christian people once they get born again. 2 Corinthians 8:2 says, "How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded," or increased, "unto the riches of their liberality".

Now, this weekend or next weekend, we're going to talk about that whole 2 Corinthians chapter 8, how there was a grace given to the church of Macedonia, and that grace was concerning giving. In other words, they were empowered to give. And he said here, "How that in a great trial of affliction". So there was a great trial going on. In the midst of a great trial, they chose to have joy. Now, how many of you know joy is a choice? In the midst of a great trial, how many of you had great trials? Amen? And especially financial trials. In the midst of a great financial trial, they not only had chose to have joy but they chose to have an abundance of joy. Everybody say, "Abundance of joy". And he says they had an abundance of joy and they still had their deep poverty. But he says in the midst of that trial, they chose abundance of joy, they had deep poverty, but it abounded to the riches of the liberality.

In other words, their joy, yet deep poverty, caused them to be extremely liberal to the point, if you read on, they were begging them, "Please become a part of this ministration to the saints. Be a part of us ministering to you". So one of the things you can expect is that, you know, there will be a grace to give. We thought that our giving made grace available. No, there's a grace that will empower you to give. There's a grace that no matter where your situation is, you will be empowered to give. Even in the midst of great tribulation, even in the midst of a great trial, you will find yourself giving because it's really an act of honor. You choose to make God, you could, you choose, the word honor means to carry weight, to weigh in. It's a priority. You choose to make God your priority over everything. And even though you don't have much of it, you choose to take what you have and you say, "God, you weigh in heavier than anything else, so I'm going to honor you with what I have," and that life of honor will never leave you in lack. Never, never, never, never, never.

Now, I want to show you something really strange here. Go to Mark chapter 12, verses 41 and 44. I want to show you Jesus actually looking over into the offering. He's looking into the treasury. I want you to notice a couple of things for people who say, "Well, this ain't got nothing to do with Jesus and Jesus ain't got nothing to do with money and money ain't got nothing to do with Jesus". Jesus is looking over into the offering. I need you to get this in your head. We're not talking about the giving of money as much as we're talking about the giving of trust. But when you give your money, you authenticate your trust, okay? Now, look at this. Look at what Jesus said now. "And Jesus sat over against the treasury and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury".

Check that out. For anybody that comes to you from this point on and says that my Bible don't say nothing about Jesus and money, there's Jesus right here sitting and looking at how people are giving. He's looking at how people are giving. I got news for you, he is still looking at how people are giving because what is he ultimately looking for? When you're giving what the world has come to trust. You're giving what the world has come to trust. And so, he is looking at them casting money in the treasury and he is looking at, ultimately, how they are measuring their trust. How they are measuring their trust towards God is being based on the money that they're giving, and look what he says here, and here's proof of it. "And many that were rich cast in much," so he saw that. Verse 42, "Many that were rich cast in much, and there came a certain poor widow.

She threw in two mites," which is like, I got one of these at home. It's like a piece of a coin. It's so worthless. That she cast in, "And there came a certain poor widow and she threw in two mites which make a farthing". Verse 43, "And he called unto him his disciples and said unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow has cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury.'" Now, how do you say that when the rich people ended up casting in like $20,000 and Jesus is saying that this little piece of a coin was more than the $20,000? What is he talking about? You know he's not talking about the amount, okay? And in fact, Jesus was more concerned about how much you had left over versus how much you put in the treasury. How can I say that?

Look at the next verse. Well, the verse right there. "For all they did cast in their abundance". So they cast in of their abundance, "But she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living". Now what is it saying here? She trusted him so much that she could trust him where her living was concerned because what she gave was all that she possessed to help her in her life, and she gave that away. But what does she do ultimately? She said, "I am proving to myself that I trust God with my living. So I'm giving this away".

Now, a person that doesn't know God says, "I can't give this away, this is all I have left for my living". She says, "I'm going to give this away because I trust him for my living". So what was he saying about the rich guys? He says they gave out of their abundance, man, but they still could trust what they had left over. They gave out of their abundance. They could still trust what they had left over. But this lady gave, she gave much greater than them because what she gave was the only thing that she possessed to take care of her living, and she said, "I can give this 'cause I trust God". And in giving that, not the currency, but the... well, the currency of exchange in our society is money, the exchange in the kingdom of God is trust. So she said, "I can trust God".

Don't you see every time you decide to give away that which men have been taught to trust, when you give that away, you're saying to God, "You can make the difference. You can make the difference. I can give this much because I trust you to make the difference. I can give this thing into the treasury 'cause you will make the difference". So although you're giving money, what you're doing is displaying trust. You give money, but you're displaying trust, and Jesus said, "This woman trusts me more than all of them". Why? He measured her trust based on the degree that she gave. She gave everything that could have taken care of her life. And it wasn't even much, but she gave it and Jesus said she out-gave everybody in trust. And that's what I think I'm trying to minister to you guys, is that we've got to out-give people where trust is concerned.

I don't ever want to trust cash more than I trust Jesus. And isn't something that on the cash, on the bills it says what? "In God We Trust". On the bill, I mean, what are we going to do with them when we get to heaven and we're looked at where our giving is concerned and even on the bill there's a little sign? "Even though you have this bill, don't trust it. Trust God. Don't be afraid to give it. Trust God. In God We Trust". And so now, based on what you have is going to determine the trust that you have, and I don't ever want to be in a situation where I have to trust God for health or trust God for provision or trust God for a favor and have to always wonder, "Do I really have the trust because when it comes to giving, I always seem to fall short? There's always a fear that comes in to stop me for giving".

Again, I use this restaurant in Atlanta. They close up on Sunday. They can make a lot of money if they opened on Sunday, but they decided to close, that is an honor to God, and believe God to make up the difference. That's what we're talking about, ladies and gentlemen. And every offering you ever give and whatever you do for people and whatever you do for the poor, is an issue that says, "I can bless people 'cause I trust God. I can be a giver because I trust God". If you understand that, say amen.

Okay, so let's look at the second fact that the Apostle Paul reveals. Number two, Paul taught that money that comes into the believer's life should take on the form of both bread, that's something to be consumed; and seed, that's something to be given. If you look at 2 Corinthians chapter 9 and 10, Paul taught that money that comes into a believer's life, it should take on two forms. Money that comes into our lives should take on two forms: bread that's to be consumed, and seed that's to be given. Those are the two forms it'll take on. Now, this is really interesting 'cause we're going to get real practical with this concern, but look at verse 10. He says, "Now he that ministereth seed to the sower, he ministers," watch this, God's the one that gives us seed. He says, "But he ministers bread for your food," okay? That's to be consumed by you. "And multiply your seed that is sown," that's to be given, "and then the increase of the fruits of your righteousness".

So there's nothing wrong with you being able to, you know, when you have money to have bread to consume as long as you also realize you have seed to be given. Say it out loud, "Bread to consume, seed to be given". And I want you to just think with me for a moment. In the natural, what position are you put in if you eat up all your seed? You're in trouble. I mean, you ate up all your seed. Okay, so bread to be consumed is no longer an option, why? Because he started off saying, "I'm ministering seed to you. Make sure you take the seed so you can have some bread to consume and make sure you keep some of the seed so you can sow. Keep some of the seed for sowing, keep some of the seed for consuming".

Now, people who have jobs don't understand that. I'mma show you where God gives an intention for your job as well, you know, you say, "Well, I'm under the grace of God, it'll be all right". Uh-uh, he gave you seed, some of it to be consumed and some of it to be given. So what happens in the life of people, I guarantee you, I can take ten people out of our church who are having problems with resources, and I can take another ten that don't have problems with resources, and then I can examine how they are governing and managing their seed. If you are, you know, consuming more seed than what you should, okay, and giving less than what you should, we're going to have an issue. I think I mentioned last week, we have an issue of under-investing and over-expecting.

So we have great expectation from God, but then, you know, when you don't get it you're like, "What happened"? Under-investing, over-expecting. And so, don't ever forget this right here. He gave us seed for consuming. Amen. It's all right to consume. Just make sure you understand he gave us seed for giving as well. Now, this is for the Christian. So the Christian who doesn't understand, I mean, you're a good Christian, you're under the grace of God, God loves you, you're on your way to heaven, your life is changed, but you're still having issues in the physical natural area and you're going to God and asking him, "What's wrong"? And God's like, "I gave you seed. You got to determine what you're going to consume and what you're going to use to give".

That's why the characteristic of a Christian is giving. The reflex of a Christian is giving. It is a part of our life as a Christian to be givers. If you understand all of that, say amen. So most importantly to note is that it should be viewed as seed before it is thought of as bread. Before you look at it as bread to be consumed, you should view it all as seed and you got to ask yourself, "How am I managing the seed"? And when I say "seed" I'm talking about your money. He's making a direct correlation between seed that a farmer plants and money that God ministers into your life through the favor and the blessings that come in your life. So it's a big thing to get your check and you've made a decision to live off 100% of your check. You've made a decision to consume 100% of your check.

Now, let me break this down. I was doing television taping yesterday and I got a question that come in. Sometime we get questions from social media and I answer 'em. And one lady said, you know, "I wanna give but I don't ever have nothing left over to give". See, God is a afterthought; there's no honor in that. God is an afterthought. He's got to be, if there's honor, you're setting it aside to do that. She says, "But I don't have any. You see, you know, all my money gone after I pay my bills". See what you just said? After you pay your bills, then you're thinking about God. Well, there's a lot of things wrong. You have made a decision to live off 100% of what you make. Of course, there's nothing you can do.

There is something you can do but, you know, you have to reduce, you're not supposed to live off 100% of what you make. You're supposed to make a living off 80% of what you make, at least. At least 80% of what you make, and now you have, you know, 20% left over to pay yourself, to give to God, to give to the poor. But the problem is, is there's this set thing in the minds of most people that says, "Well, I got 100%, I'm gonna live off 100%". You don't wanna do that. You don't wanna do that. So I said to her, "You need to reduce your lifestyle. There are certain things you need to reduce until you get it down to 80% and then, you know, you're able to give like you want to and then as a result of it, more begins to come in and then you can increase at that particular time. But you're trying to get it all at one time. And then you practice being broke, you know?

You know, "Well, why don't you give a offering"? "'Cause I ain't got no offering money". Well, whose fault is that? He gives you seed but notice he said he gives seed to the sower. Now, watch what happens. He gives seed to the sower. So now, when you get to the point where you don't have nothing to sow and you're not getting anything to sow, God is no longer seeing you as a sower. And it's true 'cause you ain't sowing no more because through hyperconsumption you've consumed it all the way up to 100% and you hadn't even planned to honor God with your substance means that he weighs in so heavily you, when you get the seed ministered to you, the first thing you plan is what I'm gonna set aside for God. And it's not a issue of an afterthought. It's something that you have purposed in your heart to do, where a giver is concerned. And I guarantee you, it is a life-changing thing when you begin to live like this.

Does everybody understand that? Ready for number three? Let's go to number three. Paul taught that there is not multiplication on what we consume: bread, but only on what we give: seed. There is not multiplication on what we consume: bread; there's only multiplication on what we give: seed. Look at that same Scripture: "Now he that ministers seed to the sower both ministers bread for your food, and multiply your," what? Your seed. It multiplies your seed so multiplication is not on what you consume. Multiplication is not on bread. Multiplication is on seed. And so it's only what we give, our seed that is sown. It's only what we give, our seed that is sown, that's the only thing that's gonna be multiplied. That's awesome. Seed can be multiplied. Seed can be multiplied.

And I want you to get used and get in the habit of multiplying and believing for the multiplication of what you give. Not the addition, but there's multiplication on the seed that you sow. Say this out loud: "There's multiplication on my giving". Say it again. "There's multiplication on my giving". How many of you know faith cometh by hearing and hearing the Word of God? As I am teaching you these things right now, there's faith growing on the inside of you. If I don't teach these things and if you don't hear these things, then you just kind of maintain where you are in your life but now that I'm teaching them and you're hearing them, and then faith begins to grow and you begin to operate with these things and you begin to, you know, know something so small as there's multiplication on the seed I sow.

There's multiplication on the seed I sow. I guarantee you, a lot of us, we've done this, we've been doing it for, you know, all of our saved life and we know this works. But then there are some that just have quit giving. "I'm not giving," and guess what happened? There's no bread around. There's no bread around. God loves you. You're under grace. Everything's been made available but you having problems with bread in the cabinet because it's the seed that's multiplied. If you understand that, say, "Amen". All right, this is very good.

Number four. Paul taught that giving is one of the primary purposes for which we have a job. Paul said that giving, the apostle of grace, the guy that preached grace, the guy that said, "If you preach any other thing except what I preached," and Paul here is preaching that one of the primary purposes for which we have a job is giving. Now, that's something that a lot of, well, let's go to the Scripture, Ephesians 4:28. That's something that a lot of Christians over the years have kinda wondered about. You know, "You trying to tell me that, you know, I got a job and I got a check and then you tryin' to talk me out of this". No, I'm just telling you what Paul said. And Paul is saying that one of the main reasons for you having a job is so you can be a giver, so you can give.

All right, now, watch this. He said, "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him," what? Let him what? "Let him labor". What is that? Work, right? "Working with his hands," he explained it, right? "Let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good". Why? Why? "That he may have to give to him that needeth". So the whole purpose for having the job is to support your reflex habits, to support you giving. See, God'll give you a job if you'll agree to be a giver. He'll give you a job if you agree to be a sower. He's the one that ministers seed to you, you know? When you agree, "I'm ready to sow, I'm ready to be a giver, I'm ready for you to use me when, you know, some old lady comes by and she needs a little help," and you have a job, you know? You have a job, you have a way by which you can get some seed, praise God. And I have a job, I labor, working hard with my hands so I can have to give to him that needeth it.

Oh my goodness. A job to be able to give. A job. So really, you're not living by your labor. You're living by your giving. So you make your living through your giving. I said you make your living through your giving. I said you make your living through your giving. See, somebody says, "Well, what do you do for a living"? And somebody says, "Well, I work at the printing shop". No, no, no. "Well, what do you do for a living"? "I give". Try that and see, you've gotta give people, "How you make your living"? "Giving". That blow their mind. I'm telling you the day that 100% of the church and Christians get a hold of this, life changes. Life changes.

There are principles that even the gospel that Paul preached is saying please recognize these things in your everyday lives and watch the impact that it has. And then not only did Paul preach that we should, you know, we have a job for the primary purpose of giving, but he also preached that preachers and leaders should lead their flocks in this example of giving. That leaders should lead their flock in the example of giving. You know, one of the qualifications of leadership is that that person in leadership is a giver. This is something that should be an example. It should be something that every person in leadership should begin to look at.

Acts chapter 20, verse 33. He said, "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel". 34: "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me". 35: "I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said that it is more blessed to give than to receive". Now, remember what he said at top. He says, "I've showed you. I've showed you". He says, "I have been an example of giving. I've been an example of giving into the necessity of the people". And he says, "I also showed you how it is more blessed to give than it is to receive".

So number four, Paul is saying your job has a purpose and that purpose for you having a job is giving. Think about that now, as a Christian. Think about it as a Christian. You're not realizing that, you're not recognizing that. As a Christian, you know, you're born again and you've not sat on the teaching, I'm telling you, you know, people don't realize it, they don't even think about it, but the times that they have when they have lack in their life, all you gotta do is ask yourself, "Am I a giver"? And the majority of the time, it'd be, "No, I'm not," and straighten it out. But we just kind of wanna ignore it and we'll be quick to pray long prayers. That ain't how it happen. He told you how to have authority in the financial realm. This is authority now. We've been given authority. We have authority to lay hands on the sick. We have authority to raise the dead. We have authority to cast out devils. But we also have the authority to sow a seed and to reap a harvest.
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