Generous Living – Raising Dough
Over 56 years ago, Ricky Nelson sang the words, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Way before that, people in the United States in casual conversation spoke of money as “dough.” Perhaps this may have been a reference to the saying “the bread of life.” Back then as it does today, life in America takes dough – money. In order to make bread you need to allow the dough to proof (rise). In order to survive you need to raise some “dough” or money. It seems the modern day main line American Church has shied away from taking about money. The common perception by our culture of the Christian Church, besides being judgmental, is the constant asking for donations – raising money. Even for American Christians on the inside talking about money is distasteful and uncomfortable. No wonder pastors everywhere fear to tread on the subject of giving but not our Pastor Ed. And mark my words, Ed is no fool, and I surmise any Angel would not fear this subject. Jesus clearly did not.
The sermon series, Generous Living: Going Above and Beyond,is an expansive journey that is so much more than giving money. This is about abundant life. Generous living will call into focus several foundational matters such as fear, security, self, gratitude, graciousness and faith. Looking through this lens changes how we consider money and giving. I love what Ed said about giving at GateWay. God’s way is about raising people not money, combating selfishness, creating generosity and reinforcing gratitude. At its core is faith in Jesus and our gratefulness for where He has placed us in life. Understanding more of what He has done and is doing should lead to more gratitude and an overflow of graciousness. It pleases God when you give willingly and gladly in reflection of His love for you. It is never the amount but the heart. As the heart grows so can your giving, be it time, talent or money. It is the transformation from the inside out brought about by the mercy and grace of God that fuels generous living. Rick Warren, Lead Pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, said “giving is not what we do, it’s who we are.” Jesus Christ gave. God the Father gave. The Holy Spirit gives generously. Likewise, do the same.
As stated earlier, life in America takes “dough.” Ed also mentioned being responsible. Caring for self, loved ones and providing sustenance are important matters. I believe no matter one’s income or financial level, it is essential to honor God in gratefulness and to honor Him consistently. To our GateWay Church family, if you have never given an offering or a tithe of money, start and give regularly. A dollar given with gratefulness, thankfulness and in worship will be treasured by God and be assured; He will raise people with that dollar.
Are you feeling overwhelmed and not knowing how to cope with finances? We can help. We run Financial Peace University through GateWay and we have people who can come along side and help you budget and chart a financial path. Abundant Living is so much more than having a great financial bottom line; it is about living in the peace and joy of the Lord. As the Apostle Paul said, I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am . . . I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.