What Is Your Best Investment? 11/21/99

II Corinthians 9:6-8

JESUS CHRIST is spoken of in God’s Word as God’s “indescribable gift,” that is, “His unspeakable gift.” This gift is so characterized because:
1. The Father’s gift of His Son is unspeakably free.
2. It is unspeakably necessary.
3. It is so unspeakably effective. He cleanses us from “all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
4. It is unspeakable because of its eternal consequence. It has the potential of resulting in eternal life for you.

“Thanks be to God…” Thanks is the gratitude offered by a person excited over an act of kindness done to him or her. Out of our gratitude we act to express our thanks.

Every time a Christian gives with thanksgiving he is only reflecting the unspeakable act of God when He gave His only begotten Son for our salvation. Our acts of giving only mirror the self-giving of God. You are never more like God than when you are giving.

There are about 500 verses in the Bible on prayer and 2,350 on how to manage our money. God, who created us, knows our need for help in this area.

Upon hearing the topic to be money some persons put up an immediate barrier. Some persons instantly say, “I can’t give.” God never asks us to do anything He won’t enable us to do. He asked us to give. If we say we can’t there is a reason.

We live in a “let’s pretend” society. If we develop a Madison Avenue mentality we are driven to obtain and possess. There are two ways of acquiring and attaining. One is increase our income the other is to increase our debt. The only problem with borrowing is we have to pay it back. Many in their drive to have a wrinkle-free life have subjected themselves to the bondage of debt.

The Bible has no direct prohibition against borrowing, but it does have guidelines for doing so. Basically, don’t borrow on items that depreciate. To borrow on an appreciating item is an investment. Study your capacity to repay before borrowing. Don’t subject yourself to debt bondage.

Plan your financial program right to the point of retirement. Most Americans don’t. Most retire with under $10,000 in savings. Know your goal. Suppose you are a young person entering the work force and you want to retire on an annual income of $40,000. Here is how you do it. You save $4,000 a year and invest it at no less than 6.2% interest. In 40 years you will have an income of $40,000. The same ratio applies to what ever your financial goal may be.

Don’t be overly eager to become rich. Hear the wisdom of Solomon: “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider poverty will come after him” (Proverbs 28: 22).

There are a variety of reasons the devil attacks the principle of giving:
1. The act of giving is so God-like it reveals His love.

2. It gives joy to the giver. By virtue of chairing one of America’s largest Christian organizations I have the pleasure of relating to major donors. Some foundations give in the seven figures. In expressing thanks the response I hear most is, “Oh thank you. We are so pleased to have a part in such a wonderful cause.” They have joy in giving. That is the way the cheerful giver feels about giving to the cause of Christ.

3. It frees the heart of selfishness.

God decreed the standard for giving in order to help free us from a very restrictive bondage: greed. Hear and never forget this text: “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money: nor he who loves wealth with gain: this also is vain…” (Ecc. 5:10 RSV).

Verifying this is a survey made of lower, middle, and upper income Americans. Each group was asked the same questions:
a. Are you happy with your resources?
b. How much more would make you satisfied?

Lower income people said 20%. Middle income respondents said 20%. Upper income wealthy persons said 20%. Everybody needs just a little more.

Our Lord knows the pressure to make money under which we live. He knows its allure tends to pull us away from Him. He knows its intoxicating influence.

4. It is an act of obedience.

A man by the name of John R. Brown wrote this inscription in his Bible, “I heartily endorse the sentiments expressed herein.”

The Bible being God’s divinely inspired, supernaturally authored, inerrant Word makes it worth our positive response.

God said it, I believe it, that settles it.

I will readily concede there are parts I don’t fully understand and there are parts that challenge my will to comply, BUT I accept it as the guide for my faith and action.

By winking at Scripture passages we don’t like and cherry picking those we do like we create our own tidy little theology about God and money. As a result we grow to reflect society whereas we are intended to correct it.

In our text guidelines for giving are noted.


A. Constraint isn’t a worthy motivation for giving. That is, don’t give because you feel you have to give. Observe verse 5d, “not as a grudging obligation.” And verse 7b “not grudgingly.” It is not as though these people don’t give. It is that they give, but it hurts them to do it. They have a bad attitude about it.

Such negative constraint is unworthy motivation. However, there is a positive constraint. The apostle Paul, a love-slave of His Master, looked upon what Christ did on Calvary and acknowledged, “The Love of Christ constrains us…” (II Cor. 5:14). Paul gave himself and the roots of his giving can be traced to Calvary, all giving is rooted there.

B. Compulsion is not a meritorious reason for giving. Our giving should not be “of necessity,” (Vs. 7c).

This term also describes persons who have given; but they would not have done so, if they could have found a way out.

Don’t feel like you have to do it. It is given with the right spirit when one feels, “Oh, boy, by giving to this cause I have a part in it.”

An IRS agent called a pastor and said, “One of your members reported giving $1,000 to the church last year. I am calling to verify this gift.” The pastor replied, “I don’t have his record right here. But I will check; and I assure you, if he didn’t he will.” That is constraint.

We should give with the mentality of a farmer. A farmer sows seed knowing he isn’t making a contribution to the soil, but an investment in the soil. The seed he puts in the soil returns multiplying what is sown.

Based on this agricultural principle there is no act in the Christian experience that increases our capacity for receiving more blessings of God than the act of giving.

Show me a stingy, selfish Christian; and I will show you a Christian whose spiritual life is shriveling.

Conversely, introduce me to a Christian who enjoys the delight of giving in Christ’s name; and I will show you a growing Christian open to all God want’s to give.

Every opportunity to give that is rejected is the rejection of an opportunity to receive. God doesn’t always repay with currency. It is often something much more valuable.

In John Bunyan’s “Pilgrims Progress” are these lines:
A man there was, they called him mad,
The more he gave the more he had.”

The very heartbeat of salvation is the principle of giving. “For God so loved…He gave…His unspeakable gift.”

With reliance on this agricultural principle a now-deceased Georgian made a commitment to the Lord. R. G. Latourneau pledged to give 90% of his profits to the Lord’s work. Once when things were going bad and he was giving generously, he and a companion went on a trip together. The weary industrialist fell asleep. His companion related that suddenly Latourneau sat up, pulled out a pad and pen and wrote furiously on it. Then almost instantly he fell asleep again. Later his companion asked what he had written. “When?” was the response. Upon being told he pulled out the pad, and there on it was the needed formula for the world’s largest earth-moving machine. God had provided even in his subconscious.


A. Conviction comes from the heart according to verse 7a, “…as he purposes in his heart.” All of our giving should be heartfelt. The word “purposes” reveals giving to be a matter of choice. It is either a deliberate act of obedience or disobedience.

B. Cheer in giving is enjoyed by God Himself as noted in verse 7d, “God loves a cheerful giver.”

When it comes to giving, even to giving being spoken of, some persons curl up into a tight ball of emotional pain. They are frozen inside by the prospects of giving. They have failed to realize the release associated with relinquishing what is possessed as an act of confidence in God. It is a way of showing you to believe He will provide for you as you serve as His agent to provide for others.

In II Cor. 8: 15 reference is made to the experience of Israel wandering in the desert. God supplied their need by feeding them with manna from heaven. Those who gathered more than they could use had nothing left over. It spoiled. Those who gathered what little they needed had plenty. They were confident that the God who supplied their need today would do it again tomorrow.

A simple way of summing this up is:
“What I spent I lost.
What I kept others inherited.
What I gave away pays eternal dividends.”

The Greek word translated “cheerful” is HILAROS. It speaks of a joyfulness that motivates action.

When the Old Testament, written in Hebrew, was translated into Greek the Greek verb form of HILAROS was used to translate the phrase “to cause to shine.” Such a holy cheerful glow should come from a congregation at the time of the offering that the house lights have to be turned down because they are so turned on by giving.

This verse means God gets delight out of those who get a kick out of giving. Such a giver lives in the love of the Almighty God.

God always looks behind the ACT to the ATTITUDE,
Behind the FACT to the FAITH.


A. Our capacity is made possible by God and He expects us to give according to it. READ verses 8, 10, & 11.

He is the source of our every resource. We should have a greater fixation with our Source than our resource.

B. Our compassion should pertain to “every good work” (Vs. 8d). It should come from our giving “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (Vs. 15).

God anticipates one response to this truth. Someone might say, “If I give to help others in need, all it is going to do is create another person in need — me.” Therefore, He says through the inspired penman, He is “able to make all grace abound toward you” (Vs. 8a). That is code language for “God is going to take good care of you.”

Immediately He returns to the idea of agriculture in verse 10. The Lord is referred to as “God who supplies.”

The translation of the New English Bible makes this more understandable in our language: “Thus you will have ample means in yourselves to meet each and every situation, with enough to spare for every good cause.” Verse 10 in that same translation reads: “And you will always be rich enough to be generous.”

God is glorified by our giving in that:
1. There are “many thanksgivings” (Vs. 12d).
2. It is an occasion to prove our love (Vss. 13 & 8:8).
3. It pays spiritual dividends. Earlier it had been noted in II Cor. 8: 14, “but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack.”

II Cor. 9: 14 explains how this is done. The Christians in Jerusalem did not pay back the church in Corinth in kind, that is, in money. They paid them back by praying for them.

What started out in the minds of some as a fund- raiser turned out to be a kingdom-builder.

Come full circle with me now back to where we began with verse 15 which speaks about thanking “God for His indescribable gift.” It is indescribable because it provides what is needed so badly the need can’t be fully expressed. It is indescribable because it provides the need in a loving manner which can’t be fully understood.

The Roman philosopher Seneca expressed the dilemma faced by all of us: “All my life I’ve been seeking to climb out of the pit of my besetting sins. I cannot do it, and I never will unless a hand is let down to draw me up.”

That is exactly why Christ came to earth. He is that indescribable hand to lift us. God so loved He gave that lifting hand.