Stay Rich – How To Catch God’s Attention

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Last week we discovered that most of us are far, far richer than we thought. Unfortunately for many, our hope often migrates from God to our riches. How do we practically put our trust in the Provider and not the provision? How do we ensure that our hope doesn’t migrate? And if our hope has already migrated, how do we take it back?

1Tim 6:17-19 has specific instructions for rich people written by the apostle Paul.

Now the words ‘to be rich’ are interesting. He doesn’t command them to be average in doing good deeds and generosity because all Christians have been commanded to do good and be generous; poor Christians, middle income, rich Christians – every follower of Christ is expected to do good and be generous. But Paul, speaking specifically to rich people says, ‘you need to go one step further. Because the more you have been blest with, then the more opportunity you have to do good and be generous than the average person.’

This is completely counter-cultural! Generally the more money you have, the more opportunity you have to enjoy life and do things for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with spending some of your extra time and money to enjoy good things in life. But Paul’s warning to rich people is that they should not waste the extra opportunity to do good that is provided by what they have…

Now obviously, rich people have more money. But you know something else rich people have? Rich people have more time! Did you know that that is not the case for most people in the world? Most people don’t take a day off because they live from hand to mouth! If you work 60 hours a week (10 hour days for 6 days), and sleep 8 hours a night (which is a lot!) you still have 52 hours a week left over to do anything you want! Now I know that time is shared out on facebook, twitter, whatsapp, watching TV, getting our hair done, taking our car to be washed, catching up with friends, shopping etc so that we still find ourselves busy, busy, busy. But the point I’m making is that the majority of people around the world don’t have that extra time at all! And those of us who have more money & time than others, have more responsibility.

How can we ensure that we are truly rich in good deeds and generous? The answer is simpler than you think – It’s not the amount I give away but the percentage that counts.

The surprising thing is that God is not impressed by amounts! One day, Jesus and his disciples were in the temple and he was watching people give. In the temple, they didn’t pass around an offering bag. As you went into the door or went out of the door, you put money in some kind of container called the temple treasury as you came in or as you left. I find it fascinating that Jesus was actually watching how much people were putting into the offering. I mean that feels kind of intrusive, doesn’t it! Somehow, God is interested in what we give! Then something happened that caught Jesus’ attention…

Luke 21:1-4, ‘As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”’

Here’s the scenario: Many well-dressed, nicely perfumed rich people throwing in impressively large amounts. But then this poor widow comes, with threadbare clothes that had been worn too often, and she puts in 2 very small copper coins. And Jesus says something radical: ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in MORE into the treasury than all the rest – thats right, more! It’s so easy to miss the shock of that word! How can two worthless cents be worth more than all the other larger amounts given to the treasury that day?

Because to God: It’s not the amount you give away but the percentage that counts!

You see, the rich people gave what they could easily live without, while the poor widow gave 100% of what she had. Here’s what Jesus is preaching, here’s what the apostle Paul is saying, and here’s what those of us who hope to be rich or already are rich need to understand… Rich people should not only give larger sums but higher percentages. That’s Paul’s point. He’s saying I want you to be rich (not average) in good deeds, generosity and willingness to share.

Most people don’t pre-decide a percentage to give; they give spontaneously or emotionally. Here’s the problem with the spontaneous generosity approach: IF YOU DON’T GIVE A PERCENTAGE, YOU’LL ONLY GIVE LEFT OVERS!

You’ll feel really generous but you’ll only be fooling yourself! So Paul says to Timothy, tell those rich people ‘don’t impress yourself with the amount that you give, because it’s not the amount you give away but the percentage that counts!’

The main way to ensure that your hope does not migrate into the accumulation of wealth, and in the process to catch God’s attention, is to pre-decide. Begin by pre-deciding a percentage of your income to give away and give it away first.

Now according to Paul, it’s not just about being generous with our money. Along with giving money, you also need to prioritize giving some time to do good within the context of the organizations that you give to. The irony for many of us is that as God blesses us, those same blessings are what keep us too busy to serve others!

There are many generous people in this church who are serving passionately and giving sacrificially not because they’ve nothing else to do with their time or their money but because they have pre-decided.

You see, spontaneous service and giving is not wrong but if that’s all you do, you will miss your opportunity to do more with what you’ve been given but even worse, you will not be able to avoid the affliction of hope-migration. In other words, to stop your hope from migrating, you’ve got to pre-decide to be rich (i.e. above average) in doing good and being generous.

You need to pre-decide where you’ll serve and how much you’ll give. Because whether it’s your time or money, it’s not the amount you give away but the percentage that counts!

Imagine with me – what would happen if every single person in every Mavuno Church this weekend said, ‘I’m pre-deciding upfront to give a percentage of my time and money to an organization that is changing the society. Imagine with me that as a result, we all begin to realize that we don’t have to live on all that we make.

Imagine that all these Mavunites begin to spend less on themselves and begin to save and invest more. Imagine that all of them throw off the shackles of debt because they begin to realize how it’s robbing them of the opportunity to live with the margins and freedom that God intended for them.

Imagine that as a result, a community of radically generous wealthy people emerges who will educate poor children, provide employment for widows, eradicate abject poverty and change Africa in their generation! And imagine that you are one of them, catching God’s attention, right in the forefront of changing this continent. Somebody say AMEN!

It’s not the amount you give away but the percentage that counts!

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7 Responses to “Stay Rich – How To Catch God’s Attention”

  1. I heard Linda Nyangweso share it on radio was like how do I get this! Today too didnt stream the link wasn’t responding!

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  2. Sometimes when we talk of giving it seems like a hard nut to crack, as i was listening to the summon it was profound and when i saw this I wasn’t surprised http://gawker.com/this-three-minute-commercial-puts-full-length-hollywood-1309506149

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  3. Hi, I missed this week’s sermon to support a friend and church across town, however i came across an article that would relate well with the “stay Rich” sermon, and would explain why many people are where they are today http://www.waitbutwhy.com/2013/09/why-generation-y-yuppies-are-unhappy.html

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  4. Sermon is great Pastor, as praying for the church this week, I will surely uphold my church Mavuno and Pr.Njore for God to continue making you wiser with great and intensive insights. You always deliver the message really well. God bless you and your family.

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    • Thanks Vamooshina for standing in the gap on behalf of our pastors and covering them in prayer. May the Lord refresh you as you refresh others in prayer.

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  5. Sobering sermon….% illustration was on point…And i am soo going to save from this day on wards..

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  6. charles mwafngure Says:

    I actualy calculated the percentage that I usually give and manze mpaka niliskia aibu… Its nt even 2pc

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