Generous Giving


California and I appreciate it so you guys might look at the topic and be nervous and for some reason I always have chosen to give sensitive topics I apologize I'm not going to talk about pornography this time much anyway and this is just a series that I was doing at my church that I'm doing and so it's not like abouna chose this and I'm pretty convinced that none of you have seen it we have nine YouTube viewers and I'm pretty sure that no one has seen this before so it's okay I love this season of the year this time of the year where everyone is excited there's a lot of great memories we're entering the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas and I know that it's full of traditions I don't know how the Coptic version of the pilgrims story left out a few details it's not all about fish and this year we'll actually get to have Turkey but I know that people get excited about decorating their houses and some of you may be your cars and in general people just tend to be happier families are together kids are excited we're trying to get the perfect Christmas picture for our cards and everyone is just happy it is the happiest time of the year but sometimes I wonder if it is for the wrong reasons we're gonna start Thanksgiving this week and I have to evaluate my Thanksgiving experiences it's a religious holiday believe it or not the US government is giving us a religious holiday a whole day and they haven't changed the name it still meant for giving thanks to God one day a year dedicated to giving thanks to God and we actually get two days off for this great event and sometimes we spend almost up to five minutes thanking God that day right before we go to town on an amazing dinner the two days we're given we might spend up to five minutes thanking God what do we usually thank him for for our clothes for our food for our homes and for our health a lot of times we're very thankful for the gifts that we've received I'm not denying that we really do appreciate them but the problem is that we focus on the gifts not the giver and so we're very thankful that we have stuff and I love the gifts but what do we do at the end of the day of Thanksgiving what do we usually do we have all these leftovers we have these headaches we have so much extra food what do we do where do we where do we store it and after dinner what do we do we sit and spend more time thinking God actually now Black Friday has moved to Thursday night so we're planning after spending that whole five minutes of sincere Thanksgiving of how we can get more gifts how we can get more stuff as if we need them like we need to replace the gifts that were purchased almost a year ago we've even warned them sometimes at least once the clothes still fit the things we bought still work and yet we feel like we need to get more and many of us have birthdays some of us get gifts on Mother's Day and Father's Day and just any sale day and yet for some reason we feel like we need to get more now I'll be honest sometimes we do get bad gifts and we do need to somehow figure out how to make up for some of the gifts our family has given us in the past and that's okay but this time of the year it does create an obsession with gifts for others but a lot of time also for ourselves and no matter what we focus on the it's as if we needed more stuff and I think everyone will agree that we are a consumer society am I being extreme it's very common that we are addicted to excess I want to ask you if any of these things look familiar these are maybe first world problems one of the nicest things in a new house is a pantry that looks like this now I know here in Virginia sometimes you get one to two snow days a year and so it's not long before our pantries look like this I don't know how many cans of marshmallow cream you need but we're not taking inventory of what we have why do our pantries get like this because you go to the market and you see you want it and you get it now this is a guy's closet right no chance right we have closets that are overflowing there's clothes all over the floor and you want know what we often them say I can't find anything to wear for those of you who have children I think all Coptic homes come with one of these rooms once you have children it comes like you just have a room that just has stuff do you have an idea how much Christians are going to spend on Christmas this year six hundred billion dollars I'll be honest that's an old an old statistic it might be more because we're always about bigger and better right we were about progress do you know how much we as Americans spend on a Halloween each year an amazing holiday right seven billion dollars for that one night now that sounds like okay but you want to know it's more ridiculous do you know how much we spend on pet costumes each year 350 million dollars worth of this stuff heaven forbid should our animals because you know they love wearing the costumes right there they're waiting for this day they want to be put in a restrictive costume to take these pictures right they they want to sleep in it all year no why do we do this so that we can get a picture we torture our pets 350 million dollars if we would go one night without embarrassing our pets just think what we could do for the world do you know that 20% of the world's population consumes 80% 6% of the world's goods you know where a large portion of that consumption is right here I'm not saying this Coptic Church specifically you want to know the sad thing do you know how much we waste every year this is also an old statistic but about 50% of what we produce is thrown away 50% about 60 million tons of food or a hundred sixty billion dollars worth of food we throw away are we addicted to excess I believe we are but why it's part of the American culture it's part of the American dream what is the American dream I looked it up I just copied ah online it's that every American has an equal opportunity to aspire to what to material success another definition a life of personal happiness and material comfort that's the American dream as traditionally sought by individuals in the US but sometimes I wonder is this consistent with God's dream what are we taught to pray our Father art in heaven hallowed be thy name my kingdom come or thy kingdom come the reality is what we're doing quite often is building our kingdoms with the money that we have this church I'm convinced is focused on not building our kingdoms but it's focused on building God's kingdom so I'm not going to blame American culture on all of this let's take responsibility let's look at why we are in this pattern and then we'll just talk about some ways to maybe get out of it so one of the realities is this we don't discipline our own natural desires God gave us natural desires they're necessary for us we're supposed to crave food and shelter and clothing and God gave us the desires and these are good but when we don't control our desires a desire that is not controlled becomes what a lust it becomes a lust how do view have been on a cruise you guys like cruises here when you guys go shopping for cruises and you look at the pictures on the website what are the pictures you're looking for like what is the criteria for the cruise how many of you guys choose the slimming cruise you're going on a cruise because you want to lose weight no one like we all we go we don't care if I'm going to like visit like you know Oklahoma and my cruise I don't know how that would happen but like we don't care where it's going all they care about is is it going to be all-inclusive can we have food in the restaurant and by the pool and in the room and walking from the room to the pool and pool to the restaurant that's all that matters we don't control our what are we taught to be temperate in all things moderate everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things they do it to obtain a perishable crown they're saying people discipline themselves they're temperate they control themselves like all the athletes just to obtain a perishable crown but we are trying to compete for an imperishable crown he says I run thus not with uncertainty I fight not as one who beats the air but I discipline my body and I bring it into subjection lest when I have preached to others I would become disqualified oftentimes we're not controlling our own natural desires allowing them to become lustful and uncontrolled desires oftentimes lead to growing discontent this verse in Ecclesiastes it strikes me a lot the eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing and the more we see the more we want more how many of you have seen like one hamburger the perfect burger like I never want to look at another hamburger again that would be that's enough or you've gone to Hobby Lobby you're like I just want one thing from here just just one know every time you go to Hobby Lobby you want to buy Hobby Lobby right how many of you are trying to design and decorate your home for the perfect home every female come on be honest we were decorating to have the perfect home how have you ever achieved it like oh I've done everything and yet you see one more thing you're like I need one you're not satisfied people look at your home is beautiful and yet they'll say you'll say it's not enough I need one more this idea of not being satisfied with seeing one thing it is one of the problems that also happens with pornography it's not enough to see one thing that you need to see more and more and more the more beauty you see the more that you want of it all right so uncontrolled desires are lustful and when they're less full they lead to discontent this is what st. Paul says now that I speak in regard to need I've learned in whatever state I am to be content I know how to be abased and I know how to abound most of us are very good at abounding we're not very good at being a based everywhere and all the things I've learned both to be full and to be hungry to abound and to suffer need I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and I think we haven't learned and accepted being hungry or having less one of the other problems I think that we have is I've heard this word I don't know if it means the same thing in the American cab with vocabulary as a dozen other countries we say I need another pair of shoes I need a larger TV I need a nicer car and the problem is this I don't think we define necessity correctly need most of times when we use it means I just want more but see necessity like when you need another pair of shoes ask is this your condition is this why you need another pair of shoes is this why you need the technology is it a need or is it just a desire and we always use that what I want us to stop using it incorrectly stop saying you need stuff you guys look healthy I don't mean that in an insulting way we're a fine we're all surviving rahl doing okay necessity is like something you need for survival now if you run out of toilet paper please that's a necessity you go get it it's not it is a little bit of a luxury in some parts of the world but so many other things that we say we need were misusing that word now godliness with contentment is great gain for we brought nothing into this world in a certain we can carry nothing out and having food and clothing with these we shall be content it didn't say all-inclusive endless amount of food pantry full freezer full refrigerator in the garage full you just said having food and clothing we say give us this day our daily bread like that's what I need I need for today but those who desire to be rich fall into all kinds of temptation so we have these uncontrolled desires that lead to lusts and then we say oh I need and then the problem is we haven't really found our satisfaction in God we're trying to fill that need or that hunger with things that will not satisfy this verse in Jeremiah it moves me for my people have committed two evils they've forsaken me the fountain of living waters and they've honed themselves cisterns broken cisterns that can hold no water so many people say I can't stop buying I can't stop eating I can't stop doing these things why because there's a desire in you that you're not satisfying correctly you're trying to satisfy it with all the things that don't fulfill that need and God says my people have forsaken me and if we spend as much effort pursuing God as we did pursuing things I want to know what st. Paul called those things that he had rubbish like that stuff he says everything I had that was that was nothing why because he was filled by God and we're looking in all the wrong places to satisfy our needs have you ever thought this thought I need to be careful how much I give away because I don't want to end up not having enough for myself honey others are so worried that we're gonna give so much that we're gonna have nothing most of us could give away tons and still have tons left Anne Frank she says no one has ever become poor by giving and it's true we're worried that if we give stuff we won't have enough and that's probably not the right way to look at it here's something our trusses and provisions not the provider we're worried that we're not going to have enough stuff but we're not trusting in the God who gave us the stuff that he will continue to supply and and I think this is an incredible picture but it's not that far that in our things we trust not God We Trust on our 4:03 whatever we our RS we trust in our kids college education funds and we trust in our bank accounts we trust in all these things that we've accumulated we don't trust in the one who's actually provided us the ability to do that then there's a sense of entitlement this is something that we have in America sometimes we sense to what God gave us was just for us I read this story in a book called unfinished it's an incredible it's just an analogy but it's it's an amazing analogy he says he gives the example of ten people who are on a ship and a ship gets wrecked and they go to an island there's ten of them and they're desperate one guy's living on the island one side by himself and the other nine are on the other side and they're all praying for food and the one guy who's on the side by himself one day he sees a basket in the water and it comes and it's full of food and water and stuff to make fine he's like thank you God thank you God and he starts using it all and then hears the voices what are you doing with this like god I prayed for it and you gave it to me I didn't give it to you for you I gave it to you to share with others I think a lot of us thank God I prayed for it God gave it to me so it must be all for me and so this idea of entitlement here in America do we feel that God wants us to be less hungry than someone in Yemen do we feel that God wants our children to survive more when they drink water than the people in India does God want you to have larger homes than the people in Congo like why did God give you these things is it because he loves you more and he wanted to give you more than 90% of the world is that why he gave it to you because he loves you more the real reason why we're kind of not the generous givers this is 7 is for me I'm just selfish I just want stuff for me and I think that stuff is gonna make me happy and I always want the best for me and my family and a lot of time we feel like man I need to get more stuff for my family I have two girls they had birthdays in September in November and they got gifts Christmas is one month away I know it's tradition we have to get the more gifts but they came figure out how to use the ones that they just got because they all have they still haven't used the ones from last year and we just feel like we need to have like we need this or else something's gonna happen to us so what can we do well this is an example in the Bible of a church the Church of latest see I'm not going to read the whole thing but this is the lukewarm Church they weren't hot or cold he wished they were but you want to know what he said he says because you say I'm rich and I become wealthy and have need of nothing and do not know that you were wretched miserable poor blind and naked this was the church that felt like they had all they needed they weren't looking for God so some of the principles that I hope that we will learn you know the people that are the most generous givers there are the ones who feel as though they've received the most when you are on Thanksgiving Day and you're thinking God for all these things you're gonna be like wow I have so much the story of the lady who washed Christ's feet in the Pharisees house Christ gives the example of two people that work both forgiving a debt and it says well why did this person do this because she had been forgiven so much she received so much that she went to the greatest extent to show love the people who feel that they've like my God has given me so much they're feeling wealthy all the time so they're the ones that are going to give and then this concept of seeing that I've received more than I deserve I will learn to be content the most generous giver I know is God and I constantly do wrong things I sin I disappoint him I neglect him all the time and yet he constantly gives me way more than I deserve I could say thank you God for giving it to me and I feel like if I'm getting things that I don't deserve how will I feel when I see a stranger who's in much greater need I might hopefully develop that mentality contentment is something that will be liberating I don't know that a lot of people have contentment you know we're all pursuing the next thing the next fix the next thing that will make us happy my parents had this poster in the bathroom that we wanted some mono whatever it says happiness is not having the things you want it's wanting the things that you have I did this to my church in LA one time I said let's try this for a week let's eat the food that we already have in our homes like what that sounds like you don't want me to go grocery shopping this week and just eat what I have in the freezer and in the pantry and it probably could last us for weeks but for some reason we feel like it's just not gonna be enough I promise you once you just feel like you know what I'm good I don't need God has given me all that I need you're like it's so relieving I need no I don't need this because sometimes those needs eat at you you're like you know what I have more than I need I'm content Thank You Lord that's why we do this right thank you for what I have don't have I I don't need more if I have more than I need I'm more likely to be willing to give if you realize that you have excess maybe one extra toy in your house one extra outfit one extra pair of shoes ten extra dollars a hundred extra dollars if you have more than you need when was the last time you gave generously like most of us have a limit on how much you'll give to a homeless person a dollar five really generous ten dollars if I took ten dollars out of your bank account most of you would not know it if I took a hundred one of the last time someone said I'm just gonna give a hundred dollars to this homeless person or a thousand oftentimes we give the person so rich there's different types of giving there's rich people who give people and need and the what as a result the rich person stays rich and the poor person stays poor when was the last time we were the rich people that gave to someone who was poor and they became rich you could do that very easily all over the world and it might take a little bit the ultimate giving is the one that Christ did he who is rich became poor so that we were poor could become rich I'm not asking you to become poor but what if you said I want to be the kind of person that makes other people rich it is more blessed to give than to receive this is one of the things that you know most of us feel a sense of joy like when you do give to the homeless person or whatever you're like that felt good most of us when there is a service opportunity and we have the opportunity to do something you like we run to it we want to take our kids it's it feels so good how many times where you got so much stuff you're like oh man what do I like I it doesn't do anything for you what if you felt a joy every time you gave then what would you continue to do you might be addicted to giving and then last thing I would love for this church and this is one of the core values of our churches what if we're known as the extremely generous church what if that's the reputation in in Fairfax County and like oh man that st. Mark's Church I know they have all these people that are coming from Egypt and you know refugees and whatever but you know what it never ceases to amaze us that they're the ones that are giving to this community I really don't think a Christian really lives Christianity if we are not giving people this is the season the happiest season hopefully not because of what we get but hopefully it's because of what we give I pray that God had stills in your heart this mentality now this is a series that I'm giving in my church the second talk is generous givers and this is our holy transfiguration american catholic church if you wanted to go on youtube and see it now if four of you go on to it at once you're gonna like crash our servers and you know but study the idea of giving it will be so liberating to you and your family may God be glorified now and forever and I see you guys have the 1 million dollar drive you're gonna sell like a million coffees between now and January so you can raise a million dollars I'm sure the generous givers in here well