Years ago, I was complaining to a seasoned pastor that I needed to preach on generosity to my church. He said something to me that forever changed the way I saw preaching on giving and generosity. He said, “When I finally realized it was more loving for me to talk about generosity than it was to not, everything changed.”
Maybe you are thinking what I was after hearing his wise words: “Come again? How is it more loving to preach about generosity?” Let me explain how this conversation reshaped the way I see preaching on giving. This pastor reminded me that the Bible gives three expectations to anyone who makes giving a priority in their lives.
1. Giving is Good for Your Finances – Jesus teaches that those of us who are given a little and manage it well will be trusted to manage more (Matthew 25:14-30). I can testify to this personally. The more I have grown in my generosity, the more God has entrusted me to manage. This is not the prosperity gospel. I am not saying your rightness before God is going to be followed by your financial gain. Giving is good for your finances simply because of the principle of stewardship. So, if it is good for your flock’s financial well-being to give, isn’t it more loving to talk about giving than to not?
2. Giving is Good for Your Faith – I am convinced Jesus spoke so much about money in his public ministry because he knew it was one of the quickest tests of faith. Jesus was not a money-hungry itinerant preacher who could not help talking about money at every opportunity. No, our Lord knew that a quick heart check around money could reveal one’s true faith in an instant (Matthew 19:16-22). I have discipled a handful of men to lead their families in the area of giving, and I have watched their faith in God skyrocket after stepping out into deeper financial faith. Therefore, if you want to see your congregation experience increased faith, preach about the command and the fruit of giving.
3. Giving is Good for Your Joy – Near the end of the Book of Acts, Paul quotes Jesus by saying, “It is better to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). In a world wrought with anxiety and depression, giving is a way to increase our joy. Every Christmas season, I am reminded of this truth as I watch my family and friends open gifts I handpicked for them. Giving is a great way to combat the darkness of this world! Fight for the joy of the people you pastor.
Pastor, wouldn’t it be more loving -for those we have been entrusted to shepherd- to help them realize that giving is good for their finances, faith, and joy? Sitting with my pastor friend, I faced this question and changed my perspective to reflect this scriptural truth.
One of the most loving things I can do for the people God has called me to lead is to challenge them to give. To not speak on giving is unloving!