by Impact Church
It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
According to 1 Corinthians 13:3, it is possible to give without love, but according to John 3:16 it is impossible to love without giving! For the next few weeks in our series entitled “More Blessed: A Culture of Generosity”, we will focus on the joy and honor of the Body of Christ to be cheerfully and extravagantly generous. Generosity is an equal opportunity blesser; it blesses the giver, the recipient, and it honors God! As you should expect, one way we will emphasize the importance of generosity is by sharing from the Word of God. The Bible is not silent concerning the privileges that we have to worship God with our resources. Additionally, we will highlight the pleasure of generosity by sharing stories from the lives of generous people. Sometimes it is impactful to read accounts of people just like you who have been transformed by God’s Word. If they can, so can we! I have included three completely differing stories (different incomes, amounts and circumstances), to begin the discussion. You may be particularly interested in the last story, which was told by a member of Impact Church this weekend. Feel free to share your own story on our Facebook page, Twitter account or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Century Believers (Recorded in Acts 4:32-36)
All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.
The First Billionaire:
The very first person to reach the status of billionaire was a man named John D. Rockefeller. At the age of 23, he had become a millionaire and by the age of 50, a billionaire. He had amassed an unprecedented amount of wealth and material possession. But three years later at the age of 53 he became ill. His entire body became racked with pain and he lost all the hair on his head. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest milk and crackers. An associate wrote, “He could not sleep, would not smile and nothing in life meant anything to him.” His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year. That year passed agonizingly slow. As he approached death he awoke one morning with the vague remembrances of a dream. He could barely recall the dream but knew it had something to do with not being able to take any of his successes with him into the next world. The man who could control the business world suddenly realized he was not in in control of his own life. He was left with a choice. He called his attorneys, accountants and managers and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research and mission work. On that day John D. Rockefeller established his foundation. This new direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for current strains of malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. The list of discoveries resulting from his choice is enormous. But perhaps the most amazing part of Rockefeller’s story is that the moment he began to give back a portion of all that he had earned, his body’s chemistry was altered so significantly that he began to recover. It looked as if he would die at 53, but he lived to be 98 years old!
Story shared by a member of Impact Church:
Last week, while standing in line at a store, a young girl asked her mom for a candy bar. After her mother had said “no” twice, she finally gave in. The mother paid, and as they walked away gave it to her daughter. The daughter stopped, turned around and handed it to a little boy that was crying in line behind them at the register. Her mother asked her why she gave it to him. The daughter confessed that she had overheard the boy’s mom tell him they didn’t have money for candy until she could find another job.