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The story of the man that finds a treasure: His life changes once he finds the treasure. His life is never the same again. Jesus captured this story in one single verse in Matthew 13. 


44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.      

Matthew 13:44 NLT


Jesus taught that life in His Kingdom will be characterized by radical extreme generosity. He was talking generosity not rooted in self righteousness but generosity rooted in spiritual and intellectual wisdom. 


For the next two weeks we are going to talk about smart giving or the wisdom of generosity. We are not talking about it from a perspective of guilt or what you should have done but from the standpoint of how can we live our lives in the way God intends for us to live them. How can we emulate the Christ we profess to follow? 


 “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  -- Jim Elliot 


What we are going to talk about is the wisdom of generosity. It is smart according to the bible to live a life of generosity. 


Wisdom:  the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight


Generosity: root word from generous of noble birth, excellent, generous; having qualities associated with those of noble birth, noble-minded, gracious, magnanimous, willing to give or share, unselfish. 


In Hebrew Generosity means: “to saturate with water, to give to overflowing, drink one’s fill.” 

In Greek generosity means:  “ready to distribute.” This means that our time, talent and treasure our on our fingertips to give away at the right moment to bless someone else. 


So, what is so “wise” about generosity?  I am going to answer that question with two simple answers today. Being generous is not some high and holy calling that only a few super spiritual people step up and practice but rather being generous is one of the smartest and wisest things you can do. 


1. Generosity is wise because it works! 


Generosity is the ultimate win/win proposition. When people are generous they feel good and are  blessed about it and the recipients feel good and are blessed because of it. Scripture supports this. When people are generous great things happen in them, great things happen to them and great things happen through them to others. 


“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” 

Proverbs 11:25 NIV

A very wealthy, religious little old lady was a soft touch for any panhandler she happened to meet on the street. One day she met a very shabbily dressed man and impulsively pressed a five dollar bill into his hand, smiled warmly and whispered, “God speed.”

The next day the shabbily dressed man knocked at the door of her house and said, “Here’s your hundred dollars. Godspeed came in first and paid twenty to one.”


A proverb comes from the wisdom literature of the Bible and we are to model our lives after them. This proverb is simply saying that when we are generous to others we will share in that generosity. 

18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.” 1 Timothy 6:18 NLT

The fact is that even if that proverb were not in the Bible we can still conclude that being generous is a wise thing to do. Let me give you three reasons why that confirm that for us just from looking around at our lives. 


Observation confirms it


When people act in a miserly, selfish and greedy way they are miserable unhappy people. We all know people like this. The word miser and miserable come from the same root word. All of us have seen people that seemed to be sane, sensible people turn into monsters over some inheritance or business deal that involves trying to figure out how to distribute the money. They are willing to chuck lifelong relationships, people get depressed, bitter and angry. 


Whenever you act in a selfish, miserly fashion it does nothing but destroy you from the inside out. No one I know watches Dickens Christmas Story and looks at Ebenezer Scrooge and says, “Man I wish I could be like that.” 


The opposite is true as well. All of us have known people that are full of generosity. They love to do nice things for other people. They are known for their kindness. They don’t hoard things but are willing to give away things that seem to have deep meaning to them. When you are around someone like that how do you feel? Generally we wish we could be like that person. Something positive wells up inside of us and we become attracted to that person because of their generosity. 


I remember hearing a sermon years ago when I was in high school (I don’t remember very many sermons from when I was young but this one resonated with me) by a man named Don Myers. He preached a whole sermon on being winsome in character. 


When you life a generous life you are winsome. What does that mean? It means that you are generally pleasing because of a childlike charm and innocence. It is characterized by being charming, winning and engaging. 


Generosity produces a winsomeness in people that is compelling. 


Story of generosity by C. Ingram. (Smithfield West V.) 


Being generous is one of the smartest things we could ever do. The quality of our lives goes up when we are generous. 


Experience confirms it  


Whenever you have done something generous there is healthiness to our spirits. When you and I take the time to send someone a note or make an encouraging phone call or we see a need and respond to help there is something that we receive in return for being generous. 


I mean there are times when you see something that needs done and you realize this won’t take much time and you respond by helping someone. Then there are other times when if we are honest when we see something and decide that we are too busy or for whatever reason we just don’t feel generous and get that little nagging feeling inside of us. 


Woman at Kroger’s a couple of years ago. 


Generosity is the wisest most win/win way to live in the universe. 


The “Christmas Spirit” confirms it


Now I have not done quality research on this but check out this theory. Have you ever notice that for about 11 months out of the year people treat each other like jerks and for one month out of the year they start being nice to each other? 


Why is this? For one month out of the year more or less our concern shifts away from ourselves and we plan and plot what we are going to do for someone else. We make lists and think about what someone else would really like and it changes everything. For about one month, even though there is stress we feel refreshed and energized because we are thinking about how to bless other people. 


What would happen if we experienced the “Christmas Spirit” 12 months a year? 


To sum it up: Becoming a generous person is the smartest way to increase the quality of your life now! 


The Bible teaches this, our observation confirms it, our experiences confirm it and the Christmas Spirit confirms it as well. 


2.  Generosity is wise because it protects us! 


Spiritually, generosity protects us from short-sighted bad investments of our time, treasure, and talent. Every day we are investing our time, talent and treasure. You do understand that every day we are investing and it comes back to us with compound interest. I am talking about our time, our thoughts our money, and our energy. Whatever we do and put our heart and soul into is what we really believe in and invest in. 


We can do it intentionally with purpose or you can just get up and go through your day but either way you and I are investing. Every investment will have a return. It is a biblical principle that you can go the bank on: whatever you sow you will reap later. Jesus taught this in His very first sermon. 


Scripture supports this. Before I read this I want you to look out for some things in this scripture. Jesus talks about two ways of investing, two eyes that you can have or ways of looking at life and there are two masters. 


19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 


Because. . .

 22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! 

Application: 

 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.   Matthew 6:19-24 NLT

Let’s break this down and look at it for a few moments: 


A. The Negative Command: Stop storing up stuff for yourselves!


19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth,


Is it wrong to save?  No. In Proverbs 6 we read about observing the ant and learning how to save. 

Is it wrong to invest? No.  In Proverbs 13 it says we should compound what God has given us.

Is it wrong to have nice things? No. in 1Timothy 6 we learn that God has given us things to enjoy. 


The key here is that we are not put all of our time, energy, devotion, money and investment into ourselves for the here and now. 


It is the prohibition of greed, pleasure seeking and living for the here and now. Don’t live in a way that makes you continually think about yourself. This is not because God is against you but because He has your best in mind. 


When you look at this in context you come to understand that wealth in the first century was not in 401k’s or the stock market but it was in the abundance of clothing or material to make clothes whenever you wanted or needed to. It was in the storing of grain and precious metals. Bad investments always compound and Jesus is saying, “Look it not’s very smart to put your treasure in a place or position where you could lose it all tomorrow. (moths/ rust/ thieves) 


19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 


The first command was negative: Stop storing up for yourselves. . .


B. A Positive Command: Start storing up treasures in heaven for yourself!


Why? Because there are no moths, rust or thieves in heaven! What is the motivation for this? You really need to hear this. God has YOUR best interest in mind. We are storing in heaven for “us.” 


20 Store your treasures in heaven


You see if you believe that heaven and eternity is really real and you can imagine that time would be represented by a piece of paper that started here and wrapped around that wall and then out into the foyer and on and on without end that would be eternity. All of the history of time as we know it would be represented by about an inch and your life and mine would be a little speck of a dot within the inch that you would have to use a microscope to see. 


We are made for eternity and we should allocate our investments in such a way that they invest in eternity. 


How in the world do you do that?


1. When you give to the work of the church and the gospel we will meet people in heaven that will thank us for our generosity and faithfulness. (This is why I will never understand people that struggle with tithing. To not give in a biblical manner is to admit that we really don’t understand or that we purposefully, willfully choose not to understand God’s word for how we are to live our lives.)   

2. When we give to others (time and energy) we are promised to be rewarded in heaven. Even a cup of cold water is noted in heaven and will be rewarded. 

3. The bible is very clear that when we help the poor we are lending to the Lord and will be rewarded now and in eternity. 


Negative command: Don’t store up for yourself where it can get wiped out. (stock market) 

Positive command: Start storing up for yourself where it can get touched. 


C. An Enduring Principle: 


21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.


Money is the mirror of our heart. The most accurate, clearest view of our spiritual health is to look at our heart and what we invest our time talent and treasure in. If you want to know where your relationship with God is you don’t need to look at your church attendance record or who many times you read the bible this week or even how often you prayed. You just pull out your credit card statement and your checkbook or bank card statement and it will become really clear what you are devoted to. 


Wherever your treasure is there your heart will be also. That is why Jesus gives us. . .


D. A New Perspective: 

 22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! 

In life there are two treasures. In life there are two ways to look at things. (two eyes) and then He reminds us that we can’t serve two masters. 

 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.   


 The goal behind Jesus words was to protect us from spending our whole life on this earth wasting our resources on things that are going to pass away. 


Remember this: My heart always goes where I put my resources. (God’s money, time, and talent.)


You remember that story from the beginning of the sermon?  


44 “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.      

Matthew 13:44 NLT


The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure. . .


“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”  -- Jim Elliot 


So. . . 


Where is my heart right now? 


To whom or what do I want my heart more connected? (Any person or even God) 


What would be the “smartest” reallocation of my resources to move my heart where I want it to be?

You know what we need to do right now? We need to pray about this. 

Prayer

Song

Summary Becoming a generous person is the smartest way to prepare for your eternal future.