Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Channels of Blessing

Leslie Basham: When you're passionate for the kingdom of God, it will affect your budget. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We cannot claim to be devoted to Christ and His kingdom if we are not investing generously in it.

Leslie: This is the Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, November 19, 2014.

Yesterday we heard an intriguing message from John Rinehart about gospel patrons, those who see the Lord working and provide know-how and finances to help propel that work. John gave that message earlier this year at the Generous Giving Conference, and then our host Nancy Leigh DeMoss also spoke.

We're going to hear her message today and tomorrow about where a heart of generosity comes from. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy: You couldn't grow up in the DeMoss household and not have a heart for giving. It was just part of the air we breathed. I can remember getting to the University of Southern California as a seventeen-year-old junior in college, I transferred there. I had an allowance of $50 a month, and I can't remember whether or not that included gas. I commuted to school.

But I know it was the most I had ever had per month. I have gone back and found these meticulous records I'd kept, all handwritten, of every penny I would spend because the goal was how much I would have every month to give out of that $50. I would spend as little of it as possible and give as much as possible. I don't take any credit for thinking that way at all. It was just the way of life I had seen modeled in our household.

When I got to my first job, my first ministry assignment out of college, I had this huge salary of $7,800 per year, and I just thought, There's more to give! Of course, there were more expenses, too, but in those early days, I can just remember such joy. I'd ask the Lord to let me stand on the shoulders of my parents, so to speak, in every area of life, and I would want generosity to be one of those as well.

I've had the joy in my ministry life of investing all the resources that come in through book royalties or speaking honorariums, to put it all back into the ministry and invest it in the Lord's work. That has been not only a joy, but also a great freedom for me to just have a clear heart. I'm not saying everybody should operate that way or that's more spiritual than somebody else. I'm just saying it's been a blessing for me to say, "My heart is in this, not for what I get out of it, but for what I can give to serve the Lord and His people."

You've heard a lot of stories this weekend, and instead of telling you more stories, I want to take us to the Word. That's where we see the heart and the basis of true gospel generosity because generosity apart from Christ and the gospel can take you to hell. Generosity in and of itself is not a virtue. It is not particularly noble. It can be a matter of self-righteousness. It can be a matter of pride. It can be a matter of keeping up with other people who do.

But gospel-centered, Christ-centered generosity is part and parcel of living out the gospel. I want us to see this progression that you find through the Scripture, and we've seen it illustrated here numerous times over the last day or so. Then I'm going to illustrate it out of two passages.

The first is we start with our infinite guilt. We are sinners. We deserve the wrath and the judgment of God. So all we have to offer Him is guilt, and then God lavishes upon us His infinite grace. Right? That's the gospel: Our guilt—His grace.

Out of that equation comes flowing gratitude, heartfelt gratitude, gratitude upward and then generosity outward. So we have guilt toward God. He pours out His grace upon us. We lift up gratitude upward. We spread generosity outward. And that results in even more gratitude on the part of the people who have been touched by His grace mediated through us to them. And the sum total of it all is that God gets massive glory. He is worthy. We just sang that.

So it's our guilt, His grace. We lift up gratitude. We spread generosity outward. More gratitude is lifted up to the Lord, and He gets more glory.

Now, the heart of that, and the essence of that progression is seen in two great chapters, passages of Scripture. One in the Old Testament and one in the New, 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. If you have a heart for generous giving, you need to camp out in this passage. These two chapters, there are none greater. They are just a treatise on God's heart for giving.

The apostle Paul calls giving a grace in these two chapters, and he refers to grace seven times in these two chapters. He talks about the example of the Macedonian believers who, on the one hand, had experienced severe affliction and severe poverty, but at the same time, they also had an abundance of joy and overflowing generosity. Now that is crazy math.

That just doesn't make sense to accountant types, but it makes all the sense in the world in God's math. The Macedonian believers gave according to their means, Paul says, but they also gave beyond their means.

Now, I'm not exactly sure what that meant for them, but I know I would love to learn to live that kind of life, to give according to your means and then, somehow by faith and sacrifice, to give beyond our means.

And as you read this passage, there was no coercion. There was no begging for funds. In fact, Paul says that these believers who had suffered so greatly, begged earnestly for the opportunity to give to the suffering believers in Jerusalem. They were looking for opportunities to give out of their extreme poverty and affliction. It's amazing!

Then Paul exhorts the Corinthian believers to follow the example of the Macedonian believers and to excel in this grace of giving. He talks to them about planned giving, about cheerful giving. He talks to them about being channels of blessings. God blesses us not so that He can stop with us, but it says in verse 11 of chapter 9, "You have been enriched in every way so that you can be generous in every way." Channels of blessing.

He talks in these two chapters about the multiplying effect of giving. It's supernatural. You can't explain this. We give out of what He has blessed us with, and then He promises to multiply our seed for sowing and to multiply the harvest of our righteousness.

I prayed that for a couple here today who are generous givers, and I've prayed this promise for myself many times over the years. God says, "I will give you bread for your own food (I'll meet your own needs), but then I'll increase the seed that you have to sow." You say, "Lord, would You give me more to give?" But then God says, "I will increase the harvest of your righteousness."

So I say, "Lord, take the seed, whatever it is You give me to give, and would You multiply the heart of righteousness that results?"

And then more multiplication because Paul talks about praise and thanksgiving being multiplied back to God. There's a multiplying effect of generous giving.

Then we see in these two chapters that our giving is grounded in the gospel and in the grace of Jesus Christ. "For you know the grace of our Lord that though he was rich, yet, for your sakes, he became poor, so that you, through his poverty might be made rich" (2 Cor. 8:9).

Here's an amazing Savior who divested Himself entirely of His Kingly glory, who became poor to make us rich.

Well, I hope that's a passage you live in, spend a lot of time in. I go back there over and over and over again, and it always inspires me to a greater faith and sacrifice and discipline, and all that's involved in generous giving.

But I want to take us in the time we have remaining tonight to two chapters in the Old Testament. We're going to move through them quickly. If you have an iPhone, a digital device of some sort, and you'd like to pull it out, I think you'll get even more out of this if you can follow along.

Beginning in 1 Chronicles chapter 28. You may just want to pull that out and have it available because I'm going to read several verses from those two chapters. But let me set the stage here.

King David has had this illustrious forty-year reign over Israel, and now he's nearing the end of his life, and there's some unfinished business in David's heart. He's not satisfied just to have established and expanded the kingdom. He has also longed to build a house for the Lord, but you remember that it wasn't God's plan for David to build this temple. That assignment was going to be given to David's son Solomon who would succeed him on the throne of Israel.

Now, let me just pause here and remind us that we all have a God-appointed mission and calling for our lives, and that doesn't look the same for everyone. Acts 13 tells us that David served the purpose of God in his own generation.

I've been thinking about that this week and wondering: Will that be said of me some day? Not that I served the purpose of my organization or our donors or my friends, my colleagues, but I served the purpose of God in my generation. I'm so tempted, and maybe you are as well, to get distracted with tasks that are good tasks, but they're not the ones God has assigned to me.

I think it's a question we need to be recalibrating. I'm fifty-five now, and my dad dropped dead at the age of fifty-three. So I'm just thinking about these things and asking the Lord, "Am I investing my life in doing the things—not just noble things, good things, great things, things on people's agenda—but on Your agenda, for what You've called me to?"

In the first 8 verses of 1 Chronicles 28, David assembles all the leaders of the people together in Jerusalem, and he tells them what his heart's desire is, this unfulfilled desire, to build a temple house for the Lord. Then he tells them that God has chosen his son Solomon to carry out this great work.

And then turn to verse 9, if you would, or scroll to verse 9, and David turns to Solomon now, and he gives a solemn charge to his son who will succeed him. He says,

And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it (vv. 9–10).

What an amazing legacy to leave for the next generation. Here's an intentional passing of the baton of faith to his son. David calls his son Solomon to orient his life around the God that David had known and loved and served all these years. And then he affirms God's calling in his son's life, and calls him to do the work of the Lord, to be devoted to the priorities of God's kingdom, and to spend his life for God's sake.

Well, in verses 11–19, David gives Solomon the blueprint, the details for the temple. That's a whole paragraph in itself, and David says, "I received these plans in writing from the hand of God. Here are the details." So David had received this message from God about what the temple was to look like.

And then in verse 20, he knows that this is going to be a monumental undertaking, and so he speaks courage into his son's heart, "God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished."

And he promises that he will have two resources. Let look at them: first, in verse 20, he says,

Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.

So what's the first resource Solomon is going to have? Well, it's the presence of God. And we're reminded that from start to finish, God's work is always dependent on His presence, His power, His enabling.

Let me remind this roomful of generous givers that the ministries you invest in need the presence and power of God more than they need your money or anybody else's money. And let me also remind you that you need His presence and His power in your life more than you need money in order to do the things God has called you to do.

David says, "God, my God who's going to be your God, will be with you from start to finish." What an amazing promise! But then there's more. Verse 21 he promises that Solomon will have God's provision. And then he talks about the labor, the human labor, the human resources needed to accomplish this great task of building a temple.

And all of this anticipates in an old covenant sense the building of a new and living temple called the Church, and the ultimate temple the New Jerusalem. A promise that as we do God's work, we will have His presence; we will have His power, and we will have His provision. That's all background.

Now we come to chapter 29, and in this chapter, keep scrolling to verse 1 there, we have a stunning display of grace-filled, generous giving, that results in great heartfelt gratitude and glory being given to God.

Verse 1,

And David the king said to all the assembly, "Solomon my son, whom alone God has chosen, is young and inexperienced, and the work is great, for the palace will not be for man but for the Lord God."

Remember as you serve the Lord, in whatever capacity, whether it's on Wall Street or on Skid Row, or wherever it is that you're serving Him, remember that the work to which He calls us is a great work. It's a great work. David says, "He's going to build a palace." This is a kingly residence, a kingly dwelling, a home for the King. And we're reminded again of the New Testament yet to come where God will build a temple among His people in which He can dwell, and David says, "We're doing this not for man, but for God. It's for Him. It's a monument for His glory."

And so he says in verse 2, "So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able."

Wouldn't you love that to be able to be said at the end of your life, for you to be able to say that? That's what I want to be able to say. When I know that I'm coming to the end of my journey, I've done all I possibly could to provide for God's work to continue and advance and progress.

And so David says,

I've provided . . . the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble (v. 2).

Now, all this stuff, we don't know, but commentators, at least what I've read on this, said this may have been accumulated from the spoils of war. So it's not too hard for a king to give from the national treasure store. Right? But David wants to do more. He wants to give generously out of his own wealth.

So he says in verse 3,

Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver (vv. 3–4).

What motivates this generous offering from David's heart, from his own personal assets? Why? He says, "Because of my devotion to the house of my God."

Second Corinthians 8, where we started, Paul says that our giving reflects and proves the sincerity of our love. It reflects the sincerity of our love. We cannot claim to be devoted to Christ and His kingdom if we are not investing generously in it.

Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." I think the converse is equally true: Where your heart is, there your treasure will be also. Our giving reveals what we really love . . . our giving and our spending reveals what we really love.

And just a little note here: You notice that David did not leave this wealth to his son. His son was going to be involved and have a vital role in managing it, but he left it to the advancing of God's kingdom. "I'm doing this for God," he said.

So now having made his own contribution, David calls for others to give generously, which essentially is what this whole event is about, issuing a call to give generously. And David calls them, if you will, to become gospel patrons. I love that term. I'm going to be using it a lot in the days ahead.

So he says in verse 5, "Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the Lord?"

Now, notice what he doesn't say. He doesn't say, "Who will bring money or gold or silver to this project?" He says instead, "Who will give himself? Who will consecrate himself?"

Listen, you cannot be consecrated to Jesus and not be a generous giver. God does not need our stuff to do His work. He does not need our assets. He does not need our resources. He created the entire universe out of nothing, so He doesn't need our things. He doesn't need our money. What He wants and what He will use is us, and when He has us, He will have everything we own or manage, or Him the owner as well.

So spurned by David's example, the leaders and the people of Israel follow suit with their own generous giving. This is a great passage. Look at verse 6.

Then the leaders of fathers' houses made their freewill offerings, as did also the leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king's work. They gave for the service of the house of God 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold [I mean, it just keeps multiplying, the giving!] 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord, in the care of Jehiel the Gershonite (vv. 6–8).

It's the same thing you read about in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. These passages are really linked to each other when you read about the generous giving of the Macedonian believers that stirred the Corinthian believers to give. And then Paul says to the Corinthians, your zeal to give has stirred up the believers of Macedonia to give. There's mutual stirring up to generosity.

It makes me wonder: Who has been stirred to a greater level of generosity and sacrifice because of the example of my life? And of those who follow you and are influenced by you were to give with the same level of generosity that you do, what would their giving look like? Your children, your grandchildren, your colleagues, who is being stirred to radical, selfless, joyful, free-hearted, glad-hearted, open-handed generosity because of the example they see in us?

Well, verse 9 of chapter 29,

Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

And you see what we've been hearing all weekend that targeted, intentional, freewill, generous giving brings great joy to the people of God.

Leslie: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss talking about the multiplying effect your generosity can have. Your giving can influence others to give. Your joy and affect their joy.

Nancy delivered that message at the Generous Giving Conference earlier this year. Tomorrow we'll hear part two of that message.

Do you find that the teaching on Revive Our Hearts helps you thrive in Christ? If so, you are benefitting from the generosity of those who give to support the ministry. And when you give, your generosity is multiplied. Your gift helps Revive Our Hearts help other women thrive in Christ.

When you support the ministry this month with a gift of any amount, we'll show you how grateful we are by sending you Nancy's new piano CD called Come Adore. Nancy's here to tell you what significance that title, Come Adore, has for her.

Nancy: Well, this CD includes a number of carols that have been particularly special to me over the years, and while we were recording and getting ready to release this album, we were, of course, looking for the right name for it. I realized how many times this theme of "oh come," or "come adore," was echoed in these songs. "Oh come let us adore Him," "Oh come all ye faithful."

And I think that theme of coming to Christ and adoring Him is particularly fitting at this time of the year. There's so much busyness, so much activity that can threaten to distract us from keeping the main thing the main thing during this Christmas season.

So my hope is these songs will help you stay focused on Christ and lead you in a spirit of adoring Him. We'll be glad to send you a copy of this CD, Come Adore, when you support Revive Our Hearts this month with a gift of any size.

Just ask for it when you call us at 1–800–569–5959, or you can visit us online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Now, did you know that your generosity will have a big effect on those who follow behind you? Tomorrow we'll continue talking about leaving a legacy of giving. Be sure and be back with us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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