The Reason for Our Blessings
David Peterson / General
Thanksgiving Day; Thankfulness; Generosity; Gift / 2 Corinthians 9:6–15
Sermon type: Textual-Topical
Proposition: God gifts us with the ability to gain various forms of wealth that we might gain the great gift of becoming like him in character by expressing generosity towards others.
I. God Gives Seed and Makes Rich (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)
a. The way God works, he gives potential
b. The result of using that potential is exponential growth
c. God’s character is generosity
EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” All that men have they must trace to the Great Fountain, the giver of all good. Hast thou talents? They were given thee by the God of talents. Hast thou time? hast thou wealth, influence, power? Hast thou powers of tongue? Hast thou powers of thought? Art thou poet, statesman, or philosopher? Whatever be thy position and whatever be thy gifts, remember that they are not thine, but they are lent thee from on high. No man hath anything of his own, except his sins. We are but tenants at will. God hath put us into his estates, and he hath said, “Occupy till I come.”
Spurgeon, C. H. (1858). The Two Talents. In The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (Vol. 4, p. 81). Passmore & Alabaster; James Paul; George John Stevenson; George Gallie.
God gives to some men but few talents, because he has many small spheres, and he would have these filled. There is a great ocean, and it needs inhabitants.
Spurgeon, C. H. (1858). The Two Talents. In The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (Vol. 4, p. 83). Passmore & Alabaster; James Paul; George John Stevenson; George Gallie.
When you are going through airline security to board a flight they make you empty your pockets. Travelers drop their change into the bin along with their other possessions to be x-rayed. In their haste to make it to the gate many of them don’t bother to pick the loose change up again. In 2014 travelers neglected to retrieve $674,841.06 in small change.
If we would be more careful about where our small change went, our dollars would go a lot farther too. Every little bit of money saved adds up over time. It isn’t too early to begin to save.
—Jim L. Wilson and Rodger Russell
Wilson, J. L., & Russell, R. (2015). Keeping an Eye on Spare Change. In E. Ritzema (Ed.), 300 Illustrations for Preachers. Lexham Press.
Three rules of John Wesley on money:
gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can.
Christian History Newsletter, November 30, 2001
II. That We Might Be Generous Reflecting His Nature (2 Corinthians 9:11, 15)
a. Righteousness, rightness of life, is the great harvest
Why Would I Give It to You?
A highly successful businessman was once asked to make a substantial donation toward an urgent charity appeal. The businessman listened to the case presented then said, “I can understand why you approached me. Yes I do have a lot of money, and yours is an important cause. But are you aware that I have a lot of calls upon my money? Did you know my mother needs 24 hour nursing care?”
“No we didn’t” came the reply.
“Did you know my sister is struggling to raise a family of eight on her own?”
“No we didn’t” came the reply.
“Did you know I have one son in a drug rehab clinic and another doing voluntary work overseas?”
“No we didn’t”
“Well, if I don’t give them a cent, what makes you think I’ll give it to you?!”
“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus. Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me. There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean. The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives. The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.” He was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy. The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.” The ticket lady stated the price. The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price. The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus? Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.” The man understood what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation. He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied, “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.” My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with. Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide. That day I learnt the value to Give. The Giver is bigger than the Receiver. If you want to be large, larger than life, learn to Give. Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything. The importance of giving, blessing others can never be over emphasized because there’s always joy in giving. Learn to make someone happy by acts of giving.” ~Dan Clark, “A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
III. The Result will be Thanksgiving and Praise to God (2 Corinthians 9:11, 13)
1. A Hindu in one of India’s great cities once said to Stanley Jones, “If you can show me one real Christian in this city, I’ll be a Christian” (p. 131).
2. A penetrating but kindly old philosopher of India, Bara Dada, the brother of Dr. Rabindranath Tagore, once said to Stanley Jones: “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians—you are not like him” (p. 141).
3. A Hindu lecturer on educational subjects, addressing an audience of educationalists in Southern India, said: “I see that a good many of you here are Christians. Now this is not a religious lecture, but I would like to pause long enough to say that, if you (Christians) would live like Jesus Christ, India would be at your feet tomorrow” (p. 141–42).
SOURCE: E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Indian Road (Hodder and Stoughton, 1935).
In The Early Church, Henry Chadwick comments:
So striking was the Christian commitment to generous love that when the fourth century Emperor Julian sought to restore paganism to the Empire he instructed the pagan priesthood to follow the example of the Christians:
Source: Historical data derived from Henry Chadwick, The Pelican History of The Early Church and Rodney Stark, the Triumph of Christianity