Living Generously- Part 1
Matthew 22:34-40 • February 11, 2018 • Monty Mullenix
Living Generously – Part 1 Matthew 22:34-40 34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:34-39 1. We Live Generously with our Priorities. The Pharisees had codified the law into 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments. These were imposed by the Pharisees on their followers as their obligation. There was constant debate over which was the most important. There can be no holding back or incompleteness in our devotion and commitment to God. We simply cannot divide our love, our affections, or our trust. So often, we filter everything through the question “How is this going to be good for me?”, instead of “How does God want to use me?” What road did Jesus take? He left all the protection of heaven and came to risk everything for our good. What are our top priorities? Evan had an airplane, Frank had watches and Re had his service. We all have something to give - time, gifts, and even money. What they did with what they had didn’t reflect their level of financial ability – it reflected their heart; their view of God. Where is your heart today? Does your heart take joy in an opportunity to honor God through giving? Or does your heart search through dusty drawers to find what it will give to God? 2. We Live Generously with our First and Best. To love God with all our soul or life means to be willing to give one’s life to God and to devote it all to Him. It means total commitment. To love God with all our mind means to submit our minds, thought patterns, opinions, and decisions to God’s Word. “Love your neighbor as yourself” points to an ensuing response. It is an expression and extension of God’s love operating in and through the believer who is living in a vital relationship with the Lord. Knowing God in true fellowship with Him is extremely practical. It is never merely religious, or ceremonial, or ritualistic. 19 you must present a male without defect from the cattle, sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf. 20 Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf. (Lev. 22:19-20) They were to go out to their flocks, their livelihood. They were to choose the best of their flock. Would you be tempted to think that was just a waste! Generous is showing a readiness to give more of something than is strictly necessary or expected. Compare David to Frank. What did the old watch cost him? Compare David to Re. He is blessed and filled with joy by the offering he gives! How often do we miss great opportunities by saying “we’ll do it next time?” We must learn to be a people that acts on what God prompts us to do right away before our selfish nature interrupts us. 3. We Live Generously with our Mites. Ask the following questions when priorities conflict. What demonstrates my love for God, with all my heart, soul, and strength? Which shows the most love for my neighbor? Frank withheld and Re gave – but what about Evan? … 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-- all she had to live on." (Mk. 12:41-44) Frank gave sparingly out of his abundance. Re gave sacrificially of his time. But Evan – Evan gave his all. Spend time talking to God this week about where you aren’t giving your first and best. What is God asking you to give? Time? Money? Service? Let’s give our first and best this week. What we offer Him reflects our heart! When we walk away from a message like this, we may think that the key to pleasing God is giving – that is only part of the answer, and it is only a result of His influence in our lives. Without God, our best offerings are inadequate and unacceptable. (Present Gospel) God has more in store for Frank and more in store for us. We are going to continue to see Frank’s journey next time in a court case you won’t want to miss!