Because of giving by Brian Branam

“Because of” Giving, the emotion we are missing.

In my previous post, we began to listen in as Jesus draws our attention toward a widowed woman in the treasury who gave all she had to live on. Our obvious question is as to how could she afford to give all? From this story in Mark 12:41 we are looking at three ways people calculate giving. With this post, we examine the first of the three, “because of” giving. In “because of” giving there is an emotion we are missing.

“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed OUT OF their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Mark 12:41-44

Giving is Emotional Before it is Financial

When it comes to giving, people make an emotional decision before they make a financial one. They consider motive before amount. Giving comes from the heart before it comes from the hand.

As Jesus is people watching opposite the temple treasury, I’m certain there are as many motives to giving as there are people giving. So let’s ask the question, why do people give?

3 Types of Givers

Some people are cause givers. They will give if they feel that they are giving to a worthy cause. Is their giving going to help children? Will their money be used to find a cure for a disease? Is there someone in need or something of need that giving will benefit? The cause giver is usually not a consistent giver, but they will rise up when they feel that what they give will make a difference.

Some people are connection givers. Connection givers won’t give unless they are involved. The connection giver usually starts out as a passive bystander who may appreciate the cause, but they are for all practical purposes an outsider. Somehow they get involved. Now from the inside, they see the need so they give. The connection giver eventually becomes a champion of the cause, who ironically enough, can’t believe that there aren’t more people giving to this.

The reluctant giver may not give at first, but eventually, he or she will give out of compulsion. This person is moved to generosity because they feel guilty. They would feel worse for not giving than they feel the financial loss of giving.

Facebook Figured it Out

Facebook has done a brilliant job to tapping into the emotions of giving. They have intertwined the cause, necessary connection, and compulsion of giving. Have you ever seen the post that says, “This year for my birthday I am giving to . . .?” And then you, as a gift to them, are encouraged to join in the worthy birthday cause. The connection is with your friend. The compulsion comes as you see a list of everyone else who has given to the cause – and your name is NOT on the list! How could you? The truth is that you haven’t bought this person a present for their birthday in years, maybe not ever! But due to the cause, connection, and under compulsion you make the emotional decision to give.

Giving is emotional before it is financial! Mark Zuckerberg got you!

The Missing Emotion of “Because of” Giving

However you slice the emotion, we are still left to wonder. Why would she give all? What was the widow woman’s motive?

If giving is emotional before it is financial we have to ask, what was she feeling? What kind of emotion must you be experiencing that moves you to give all? Is it joy? The Bible presents her in a sad situation, but is she happy? If so, wouldn’t it be wonderful to be that happy, that joyful? What emotion is it that moves her so much to think that her two nearly worthless coins are better in the treasury than they are with me?

Whatever her emotion, it is the antithesis of our approach. We believe that the greater emotion comes in having rather than in giving. As a result, we make emotional decisions to buy things that do not turn out to be sound financial decisions. We think it would make us happy to have it. And true, for a time, we are happy with it. But in time, we have forgotten it. And then, we are emotionally motivated to find the next thing we think will make us happy. We are never satisfied. Emotional spending never works.

Question her emotion.

Whatever it is we feel we have to have, I think we would all agree. Compared to her, we have more, but we are not motivated. What is that emotion she feels? What is the emotion we are missing by not giving all?

When the Bible encourages us to give all we’ve got, maybe there is a happiness, a joy, an emotion in letting go that is much greater than simply being a consumer. Perhaps there is something liberating in giving that is greater than any experience we have ever had in spending.

Maybe she has something we don’t.

Maybe in calling us to give all, God wants us to have something that only comes through giving.

Next post – “Out of” Giving

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The Worship of Work (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

Is it possible that our office could be a sanctuary where our work becomes worship before God? The Bible shows us that our God is a god of work and therefore teaches us to be good stewards in our jobs. However, temptations exist that cause us to give less than our best such as laziness, dishonesty, and superficiality. We need to return work to its rightful place as an act of worship and seek to glorify God with every task and make our work a witness.

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The Edge of the Budget (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

In God’s plan for our finances, He provides for those in need through our excess and overage. He commands that we not spend and use up everything we have on ourselves, but rather reserve a portion of our budget to provide for those in need.  God told His people to leave the edges when they harvested their fields so the poor could glean from the leftovers. They were not to be greedy and selfish, but by their generosity they would be known as the children of God. What does your checkbook say about you, greedy or giving?

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Statistics: World Hunger and Missions

Here are the statistics I shared yesterday about world hunger and missions in the sermon “A Budget for the Edges.”  Most of the data was gathered from IMB.org and worldhunger.org

There are 1 billion 32 million undernourished people in the world right now.
There are 1 billion 160 million overweight people in the world right now.
  • 1.02 billion people in the world do not have enough to eat. This means one sixth of humanity is undernourished.
  • Hunger and malnutrition are still the number one risks to health worldwide.
  • Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes – that’s one child every 5 seconds.
  • In 2008, nearly 3 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday due directly or indirectly to hunger and malnutrition.
  • It is estimated that 684,000 child deaths worldwide could be prevented by increasing access to vitamin A and zinc.
Domestically
  •  An estimated 35% of poor families in the U.S. are forced to choose between buying food and paying their rent or mortgage.
  • Nearly half of all families headed by a single mother are food insecure.
  • In our nation’s cities, 1 in every 4 people in a soup kitchen line is a child.
$4 – buys a Bible in native languages for the people of North Africa

$8 – pays for a trip from a missionary in Lesotho, Africa to visit a village in a truck named “Miss Lottie” that was purchased with Lottie Moon Christmas offering funds. Almost every visit results in someone coming to know Christ.

$150 pays for one week of fuel in Chile as our missionaries help clean up from an earthquake.

In Zambia 5,500 people die every day from AIDS. $120 pays for a medical missions family from IMB to live there for a day.

In Bangladesh

• $0.50 will buy a songbook of indigenous hymns.

• $1 will provide a meal for one person attending a leadership meeting. Since these are rural farmers, if they don’t work, many don’t have money to eat.

• $1 will buy a complete Bible for a new believer. • $10 will cover the costs of a team taking the JESUS film to remote villages. LMCO gifts from last year bought a portable projector and generator for showing the film.

• $30 will send one village pastor to a week-long training event with seminary-educated and field-experienced instructors.

$850 a week supports a missionary on the field in Russia.

Sewing Classes

Widows and poor women with no work or literacy skills are learning to sew in order to sell goods at a local market and in turn provide food for their families. They’re also taught reading and writing through Bible stories and proverbs. Since they are unable to work while taking the classes, the women are provided a small food stipend. Each woman who completes the training receives a sewing machine. Follow-up ensures the women are able to sustain their financial needs. According to project directors, about 50 women have come to faith through this ministry.

Example costs:

• $ .82 per day provides the food stipend for one woman

• $4 provides cloth for one woman

• $35 provides one sewing machine

Malaria Treatment Plants

Malaria is the number one cause of death in a very rural area of Africa. Sixty percent of the population have more than a half-day walk to the nearest clinic for treatment. A plant, Artemisia annua, has proved nearly 100 percent effective in treating malaria. Southern Baptist missionaries are distributing these plants to farmers and families, who are also taught how to grow the plant so they won’t be dependent on others for treatment.

Example cost: 25 cents per plant

Education and Food Project

Impoverished children involved in tutoring sessions are provided one nutritious meal a day, five days a week. This project serves more than 200 children. The children have gained weight and teachers have noted improved health, ability to pay attention, study habits and grades. Children also are taught responsibility, and parents have reported that the children are taking on more responsibilities at home. The Gospel has been shared with more than 1,000 people, and a weekly house worship service has started. A nearby community with similar human needs has seen the results and is starting a similar program.

Example cost: 41 cents provides one meal per child per day

Agriculture Project

About 60,000 rural villagers cluster in one area of Europe. Despite the group’s size, their ethnicity blocks them from receiving government assistance. Villagers are being taught how to use sheep to support their families. Many villagers are opening their doors to allow field personnel to also teach them Bible stories.

Example cost: $122 provides one sheep

Water Wells

Clean drinking water is essential to overall community health. Most people think of digging a well, but other systems such as water tanks or rainwater catchment systems provide the same result – clean water.

Field personnel consider climate, local stability and resources, the depth needed to drill and other important factors to determine the most appropriate system for a particular area. These factors also determine the cost of a water system and vary widely from country to country. World Hunger Funds are providing clean water to many communities throughout the world. Here are a few examples:

Central Asia

In Central Asia World Hunger Funds provided for the drilling, completion and hand pump installation of 10 water wells in several villages. Field personnel developed good relationships with village elders, who shared additional water needs in nearby locations. These water projects have resulted in the Lord leading five men to profess their faith in Jesus.

Example cost: approximately $3,400 per well

Middle East

Three hundred water tanks are being provided in a Middle Eastern country affected by civil war. Field personnel work with local residents to install the tanks and are also welcomed into homes so that they may share the Gospel. Approximately 10,000 people are benefiting from the project.

Example cost: Approximately $150 per tank

Africa

Thirty water storage tanks with a capacity of 10,590 gallons each are being provided in an African country. Approximately 25,000 people will benefit with improved health for many years.

Example cost: Approximately $1,590 per tank

Dealing with Debt (sermon audio: Sunday a.m.)

Imagine a culture that is out of debt, loans that never go into default, and never last more than six years. Imagine loans, not welfare, that were created for charity not consumerism and an economic climate where the overall goal is to eliminate poverty. Debt will put you in bondage but God’s desire is for us to serve Him and Him alone. For this reason, He gave His people a plan for dealing with money and using it as an expression of love to others in need, as we express our love for Him.

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