Over the next few weeks as a community we’re going to be looking at how we are called and designed to live lives of astonishing generosity. Generosity isn’t just a feature of a committed follower of Jesus, it’s a core principle that shapes the way that we live in every area of our lives. It’s crucial to our maturity as we seek to know Jesus more and see His beauty and grace demonstrated in our lives and in the lives of others.
God calls us into generosity not because He wants something from us, but because He wants something for us. We know that as we journey this pathway of generosity together across all areas of our life, we’ll experience more and more of Jesus and His presence in everything that we do, and that’s what we desire most of all.
Over the next three to four weeks, we’ll be starting our journey of generosity looking at the area of our finances. It’s certainly not the only area that we’re called to be generous in, but it is certainly a tough one that is often ignored or not spoken about in the church at large.
If we long to see “All Things New” we need to engage with God’s word and with the Holy Spirit on the subject of our finances as we embrace new hearts and open hands. It’s understandable why this can be a touchy and difficult subject and that’s why we’ll be reiterating the following truths at the beginning of every message.
Just to be clear, CCV isn’t in trouble financially and neither is God. In fact, we’re healthier in many ways as a church financially than ever before in our history, and as we read in Psalm 50:9-10, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (and the hills as well!). Fundamentally, we’re not doing this series because we want more people to give (though we expect that will happen) - we are focussing on this now for four key reasons:
God doesn’t need our money, but He does want our hearts. The Bible tells us that our hearts are with our treasure; that means whatever we treasure will truly have our hearts. So often, money is at the root of our treasure, and therefore, our hearts. This is why God so often goes through our money to get to our hearts! We want to be people who treasure Jesus and His presence above all and who live to treasure others with His grace.
Generosity is a spiritual discipline. The Bible has more than 500 verses about prayer and nearly 500 verses about faith, but incredibly, there’s more than 2000 verses about money and possessions! In fact, Jesus talked about money and generosity in 16 of His 38 parables…that’s 42% of the time. We would never imagine not teaching on, or engaging fully with prayer or faith as a church, but far too often we’ve relegated the spiritual habit of generosity and giving to a place of secrecy, or worse, we’ve ignored it altogether. Jesus never intended this to happen and we must address it as His followers.
We want to be a church that God can use to supply the needs of our community. Everywhere we look, budgets are down. Schools are struggling, businesses are failing, our local council is overwhelmed by need, our health service is underfunded. What if we could rewrite that story through our combined generosity? What if we could make a tangible financial difference in the future of our community and our city? We dream of the day we are able fund start-ups in our city, or support government initiatives working to bring hope those in need, or help our local schools thrive and become places of extraordinary opportunity… and there’s so much more possible! But we cannot do those things as a church if generosity isn’t written in our hearts as a people. Where we go personally in this area, we’ll be able to go as church, seeking to serve the needs of our city.
We believe this is where our breakthrough lies. There’s been an increasing sense amongst us that after a summer where many faced trials and difficulties, God is leading us into a time of breakthrough - a time where we can begin to see “All Things New” across our community and in our lives. Throughout history, every significant movement or church that has seen historic breakthrough, shaping the culture and the future, has had generosity at the core of who they are. God has something in store for us, but our breakthrough will only go as far as our surrender is willing to go, in our lives and as a church. If we’re willing to surrender all, including our finances, and embrace God’s call and blessing on our lives as we embrace His design of generosity for our lives, we can step into His good future for our city together.
We are called to be people of open hearts and open hands. We believe God is inviting us all into a journey of generosity together with Him.