dptd from JJ Turner, Positive Sermons that Encourage, 68


The last two Sundays, at the request of our treasurer,

               I've had something to say on the subject of giving. 

Two weeks ago it was basically an announcement

               that I made after we had already offered our contributions. 

Last Sunday it was a short statement

               along with a prayer

                              just before we each gave our own contribution.

At that time, I mentioned that those remarks were basically

               for the members of the church.

And that's true, because the contribution is basically the responsibility

               of the church and it's members.

I do not preach very much about money or giving,

               I'm sure it's not as often as I should.

But, today, I would like to devote my lesson to the subject of

               "Positive Motives For Giving."

Someone has rightly said

"Nobody does anything without being motivated."

True!  We all have reasons for doing the things that we do,

               whether we consciously realize what those reasons are, or not.

But how do you motivate people?

               How do you move them to action?

               In a very real sense you don't.

               Each one of us actually motivates him or herself.

External factors can help

               but our true and lasting motives come from within ourselves.

               This is a proven fact.

So, why do people do the things they do.

Abraham Maslow said much of what we do is out of need

Because of our own needs.

               The need to survive physically.

               The need to love and be loved

               The need to feel significant.

               The need for a clear conscience.

Why else do we do what we do?

               Because of what we value.

               Because of what we hold to be important.

What else may be our motivation for action?

               Sometimes it's the present situation.

               Sometimes it's because of things in our past

                              that we have consciously forgotten about

                              but unconsciously they still motivate us

                              and move us to act in a certain way

                              in certain situations.

What other reasons bring us to action?

               Sometimes it's in response to goals

               that we have consciously and deliberately set for ourselves.

Just how important are our motives for doing anything?

Really very important indeed.

Jean de La Bruyere, the French moralist of 350 years ago, said,

"It is motive alone

               that gives character to the actions of men."

Samuel Johnson, English author of 200 years ago, wrote

"The morality of an action

               depends on the motive from which we act."

Col 3:1  We ought to act from spiritual motives

2 Set your mind on the things above,

not on the things that are on earth.

Prov 23:7

7 For as he thinks within himself, so is he .

So I would like us to ask several questions of ourselves:

"What are my present motives for giving?

"How can I get my inner being, my inner self,

               properly attuned and motivated for giving.

"Can I, or should I, be motivated to give more?"

"Are my present motives for giving

               pleasing to the Lord"

These are very important questions for each of us to answer.

I.          Things that do not motivate us properly to give

These things may move people to give,

               but they usually don't endure for any extended period of time.

1.      Giving under outside pressure

I'm not talking about anything from the Bible.

               Instead, I'm talking about, what might be called arm-twisting.

Now that may work for the moment,

               but then, when the pressure to give is off,

               then the giving stops, or decreases.


Another wrong motive is

2.      Giving out of guilt or shame

Now it's true that teaching from Bible

               may make us feel ashamed if we are not giving as we ought.

               That's a right response of a good conscience on our part.

But I'm not talking about that.

               What I mean here as a wrong motive

               is when the preacher get's up and creates a false sense of guilt

                              one that's not really based on God's word

3.      The "have to" attitude

This is an appeal to the letter of the law.

The Bible does teach the necessity of giving,

               but the Lord gives us

               much higher motives than that for our giving.

4.      The tax break motive

Now we are blessed that our government

               allows us to deduct our charitable contributions

               from our taxable income

               if we itemize deductions.

As a matter of fact, that is so much of a standard,

               that your automatically allowed to deduct 10%.

So if you don't have more than 10% to list in your deductions,

               it's not worth the time and effort to do it.

Frankly, God is not interested in whether or not

               you can take a tax break for your contribution.

A good question to ask yourself is

               "How much would I give

                              if I couldn't subtract it from my taxable income?"

5.      Giving to a church savings account

Some churches receive more that they know how to use for the Lord.

As a result, they take pride

               in having many thousands of dollars in savings,

               the more the better.

This is not good stewardship.

               The Lord would have us to be using what we have

                              in service to Him.

6.      To be seen of men

Matt 6:2 

Jesus said some people give in such a way

               that they deliberately call attention to their generosity

He tells us their motives for doing that:

               so "that they may be honored by men."

He also tells us the consequences for doing that:

               "Truly I say to you, they (already) have their reward in full."

On the contrary, he says in verse 3

               3 “...when you give alms,

               do not let your left hand know

               what your right hand is doing

               4 that your alms may be in secret;

               and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

II.         Some things that do motivate us properly to give

1.      Because you're dedicated to Christ as your Lord

Matt 16:24 

“If anyone wishes to come after Me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross, and follow Me."

Since you came to Christ is your Lord,

you have made a conscious and determined decision

               to give Jesus control of your life.

You know that to decide the right thing in any matter,

               you can ask,

                              "What would Jesus do?"  and

                              "What would Jesus have me do?"