Sunday, 12 September 2010

Vineyard Essential - Generosity

When I came into the Vineyard 11 years ago it was like I had come home. I loved the intimacy in the worship, loved how the talks/sermons were practical and applicable to everyday living, I grew up on a diet of deep teaching, you know, the deep as in you don’t have to do anything with it. I loved that The Church had a heart for the poor, that everyone gets to play and through all this and more there was this thread often not spoken about but demonstrated big time called generosity. I was impressed by how generous they were and if I'm honest my mind was sometimes offended, which really said more about my heart.

Generosity is a Vineyard Essential, it’s a vital ingredient to Kingdom living. The most important thing we can do in our lifetime is to bring the kingdom of God to earth; your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10 (NIV). One of the ways we usher in the kingdom is through generosity I'm convinced the greatest evangelism in our culture is ridiculous, outrageous generosity. I often hear people say we need to get back to the first century church, well take a look at how they viewed their stuff and money.

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Acts 4:32-35 (NIV)

Church, you and I are simply signposts pointing to the King and His Kingdom; The Kingdom calls us to live generously, love generously; I think it leads to emotionally tough questions, questions like what do we do with what God has given us? As followers of Christ shouldn't we have a very different approach to your lives? The reality of the Kingdom is that we not called to be consumers, the essential core as followers of Jesus is that we are to be sowers and investors.”

This isn't going happen overnight this is a radical renewing of the mind, living right side up in an upside down world. The only way we can do this is to be intentional, taking the risk of investing—sowing. I'd encourage you to begin the journey of using your stuff & money to usher in the Kingdom and see how remarkably free your life becomes.

Why shouldn’t I consume everything right now? If you have used your stuff, opportunities and money to signpost the Kingdom then the reality is that someday on the other side of this dust ball of a planet called earth people will welcome you, people that you might never lock eyes with on this side. In the Vineyard we really believe that everybody spends their forever somewhere. If you get this you will see money matters because people matter. Use your opportunity, your time and money and make friends who will greet you someday on the other side.

This is not about tithing, it's about surrender. The only time that someone turns down Jesus' call to come follow is when it was connected with money and the heart. Generosity is not the exception to the rule but the essential to living the Kingdom life. There is no joy in consumption, there isn’t much value in collection but there is incredible joy when you catch this and view money through this lens that it’s a tool that can change lives.

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