Be a Giver in Life, Not a Taker
Preacher: Josh White
Well we didn’t have a lot of kids today but rejigger sure had some cute kids right they were adorable.
All right well you know as a as I prepare for weekends like this I know it’s going to be a little different lot of people going to be gone and so I’m always left with this dilemma do I continue on with whatever series I’m in or do I take a break and typically for those of you who know me well enough to know I usually don’t take a break in any series I’m in regardless of what Sunday it is with the exception of Christmas and Easter for obvious reasons but I’ve noticed I keep track of all my sermons and so all the all the dates and the topics and the passages and so I was kind of curious you know what I’ve done the last couple years and I was surprised that the last couple of years I have done a topical sermon for Memorial Day And I think the reason is because as I’m getting older I think that’s the reason I get more sentimental and you know don’t you find that the older you get there’s a lot more things to just just stop and remember because you don’t want to forget these important things and so I’ve noticed that and so what I decided to do is I want to do that again today I want to stop and remember something that I think is important for all of us but first I wonder how many of you here today have a family or a friend that you knew that served in some way for their country and has passed away Does anyone here have a family or friends for quite a few and so this weekend that’s what we do is we remember those who gave their life in service to for us and so tomorrow what I’m going to be doing is I’m going to be honoring someone who gave his life for his country and his and the man is murder and I talked about this last year for those of you who remember but what he did is special enough that I think I’m going to share with you again so Michael Patrick Murphy. May seven one nine hundred seventy six to June twenty eighth two thousand and five there was a very old but he was a United States Navy SEAL. And he was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration the Medal of Honor for his actions during the war in Afghanistan and he was the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War That’s quite where you mazing his other awards include the Silver Star which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart So this is what Murray did Michael Murphy. Michael Murphy was killed on June twenty eighth two thousand and five after he left his covered position and went into a clearing away from the mountains exposing himself to a hail of gunfire in order to get a clear signal to contact his headquarters for relaying the dire situation and requesting immediate support for his team he dropped his satellite phone after being shot multiple times but picked the phone back up and finished the call while continuing to get shot upon and even signed off by saying thank you. Then continuing to fight for his exposed position until he died from his wounds and so he basically said there’s no way my team is going to get out of here unless someone sacrifices their life and so that’s a true hero you know you see things on T.V. and people who do heroics but that that’s a true hero and so in honor of him I and a lot of other people who do cross fit Yeah this is the crux or reverence they do what’s called the murder and it’s the Monday of Memorial Day every year and I did this last year I’m going to do it again this year last year I had no idea what I was getting into this year I do but the Murphy is you run one mile and then you do one hundred foot pole ups and then you do two hundred pushups and then you do three hundred air squats and then when you’re done with all of that you run one more mile. Sound like fun you’re right it’s hard it’s really hard it takes forty five minutes to an hour and last year like the the really good people they will do that in succession will run a mile. Will do one hundred Poults two hundred pushups but for us mortals like the rest of us oh we do is we break it up when we do five ten fifteen or five pull ups ten push ups fifteen or squats and then you kind of cycle through and if you’re not good enough to do that which I’m not you do five five fifteen five five five pushups fifteen you’re squats go back to five pushups kind of give your arm arrests and the people who are really good they’ll do it right now row and they’ll put a twenty pound vest on themselves AK Are you going to wear the vest
that is going to disease that is doing it too that is a fool right there.
It’s pretty exciting and it’s really need to do this in honor of someone who really did something quite remarkable and so what I want to do this morning is I just want to take a moment and focus on one very important thing that I want us to remember there’s obviously many important things that we need to remember but um I’ve kind of been inspired by the series that we’re going through with the fruit of the Spirit and then also with Memorial Day Being a day that we’re supposed to remember some important little message and so what I want to talk about this morning for the time that we have together is this in life it is important for us to remember to be a giver not a taker.
That as we go through life we have choices to make and a lot of people go through life taking and just expecting others to do for them anything that they’ll ever ask for another person to do but God is calling us and reminding us in the word to be a giver in life and not the taker and the passage that kind of inspired this is found in Acts Chapter twenty and so please open your Bible to accept or twenty. If you have your sermon notes in front of you you’ll notice I have a couple of Scripture passages that will be turning to but will start here in Acts Chapter twenty.
And will begin thirty five Acts Chapter twenty beginning in verse thirty five.
And here is we’re going to read accepted twenty getting in verse thirty five this is the end of a couple a rather lengthy section and this is when the Apostle Paul he was heading back to Jerusalem to give a donation to the churches in Jerusalem to the saints in Jerusalem and he wanted to see the people in F.S.S. one last time so he kind of parked the boat on the shore and he called for the elders of evidence to come and he had this really long conversation and this is the last time he was ever going to see them and so what do you usually do when you know you’re going to see someone for the very last time you usually share with them something that’s very important to you and so he goes through a lengthy discussion with them and he ends with this and so this is the end of his lengthy speech verse thirty five X. twenty thirty five.
He says in all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way We must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus how he himself said it is more blessed to give than to receive. Jesus said it is more blessid to give than to receive No the interesting thing about this passage is this now does this sound like something Jesus would say it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
Nod your head because yes it sounds exactly like something Jesus would say right and Paul says it but interestingly you go through Matthew Mark Luke and John and there’s no recorded place where Jesus actually says this now doesn’t mean that he didn’t say it it just means that this is based on oral tradition rather than written tradition and so this was one of the things that John and even John even saw in the in the back of his gospel if everything that Jesus said was written down there or the world would not have enough rooms to contain all the books and so this is one thing that Jesus said it was not recorded but everyone knew that Jesus said this and so Paul is carrying this around he said remember what our Savior said it’s more blessed to give than to receive and so for Paul to remind them as the last thing he said and give credit to Jesus means this is something that everyone should remember. And so this morning what I want to do is talk about why this statement is true and why it’s important for us to remember these words of Christ it is more blessed to give than to receive so many of us three reasons in the first reason is this if we devote ourselves to being a giver in life.
The first reason why we’re blessed is because it keeps us dependent on God. If you devote yourself to being a giver in life you are going to have to be dependent upon God so that you can help others have you ever been in a situation where someone else needed help and your willingness and your desire was there but you just simply didn’t have what that person needed and you couldn’t help them kind of a frustrating situation like an example could be a friend or a family member has a dead battery I mean that happens all the time in Arizona right batteries they just die and they need someone to go give them a jump and you’re not jumper cables in the taking Can you give me a jump and you say I don’t have jumper cables but your your desire and your willingness was there well as we go through life we’ll all come to the realization that you and I can only give We can only give to another person what has first been given to us you can’t give what you don’t have and the truth is as we go through Scripture we realize that God is the giver of all good things and so if we are to be a giver in life it means that we have to be dependent upon God and we turn to God and say God if you want me to be this conduit through whom you bless people in this life you’re going to have to give it to me first so that I can give to others you know I want to kind of tie this point with the current series that we have on the the fruit of the spirit do you know what this world needs more of.
That’s kind of big interest because they question but what the world needs more of our people who are loving joyful peacemakers patient kind of good faithful gentle and have self-control right the world needs people who are full of the Holy Spirit who have the fruit of the Spirit manifesting in their lives I mean would you agree that the world be a much better place if everyone was like that we saw God’s traits Well guess what God is those qualities he is love joy peace patience kindness he’s all of those things and God gives to us who he is or he produces in us so that we can give God’s qualities to the world around us and so if we’re going to be a giver is in life and make this world truly a better place it’s because we’re being dependent upon God to give us from himself so that we can give to the world around us once you turn your Bibles to second Corinthians chapter nine and we looked at this recently in the last week or the week before can’t remember a second crime scene chapter nine. Beginning in verse six.
Saying presidents Chapter nine beginning in verse six.
And this kind of shares with us are really teaches us that this important concept that we can only give or God is given to us and if you are choosing in devoting yourself to be a giver in life God will bless you so that you can give the second printing in chapter nine beginning in verse six in the city says the point is this the end of year for those hearing from the N.I.V. it says Remember all Memorial Day Remember this whoever So those who sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever So those bountifully will also rebound to flee each one must give as he has decided in his heart not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver and God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times you may abound in every good work as it is written He has distributed freely he has given to the poor and his righteousness endures forever. He who supplies seed to the SO WHERE and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness and verse eleven is the most important for a point here you will be in a rich in every way to be generous in every way which through us will produce thanksgiving to God So this is what God is telling us if you’re a giver I will give you what you need to be able to give to others and I hope everyone understands this firsthand like in your life you can realize there’s been a point where you were able to bless someone and help someone else in some way and you realize the only reason I was able to do that is because God gave me the ability or the means or the resources to do just that and so this passage here and Christians is teaching us something I think pretty clear God gives to us and when we are using what he has given us to bless others he’s always supplying us with what we need and that includes many different things sometimes financial resources. Sometimes it can include maybe some special skills that we have or maybe some of our possessions and a lot of times just means our time I mean that’s one of the best things we can give to another human being is just our time in our attention while you can only give what is first thing given to you and God is the giver of all good things and so the first way that we are blessed when we devote ourselves to being a giver in life is it makes us become really dependent upon God and we see him really truly as the source of all good things while the second way that we’re blessed Is this by being a giver it prevents us from being selfish. When you choose to be a giver in life it prevents you from being selfish you know how many problems in this world are caused because someone was selfish you probably remember Jordi of them right someone was thinking about themselves and it caused a problem between other people do you know anyone in your life it causes drama you know what I mean there are there’s always the issues going on if you can think of a person is that person selfish probably selfishness causes lots of problems let’s call it a first Peter chapter four I love this passage it really gets people to think correctly about life and the way to view life in the way to view themselves or first Peter chapter four. In will start reading in verse one first Peter chapter four
beginning in verse one.
So sense they are for Christ suffered in the flesh arm yourselves with the same way of thinking for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God for the time that is passed suffices for doing want to Gentiles want to do living in sensuality passions drunkenness orgies drinking parties and lawless idolatry so there in verse four we have a list of selfish activity things that you’re doing just to please yourself for with respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery and they malign you but they will give account to him who is ready to judge a living in the dead for this is why the Gospel was preached even to those who are dead that though judged in the flesh the way people are they might live in the spirit the way God does and so before we get into verse seven Peter is basically saying all right you’ve had your fun you live sensual you lived for yourself you sort of lived like a prodigal and what happened to the prodigal son eventually you realize there is nothing to this life this selfish life it doesn’t go anywhere so he came back and so Peter is writing to these people and says in verse seven. The end of all things is at hand therefore the self controlled and sober minded for the sake of your prayers I now basically what Peter’s doing is he’s giving us a list of ways that we can be a giver in life were saved above all keep loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins show hospitality to one another without grumbling as each has received a gift use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s very Grace Whoever speaks as one who speaks oracles of God whoever serves as one who serves by the strength that God supplies in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ to him belong glory and dominion forever. And ever amen and so in these few verses here and first Peter for we can have this great summary of life most people grow up and they’re very selfish very self-centered and Peter saying you hate you had your fun you realize that there’s nothing in that now tap into what life is really about being a conduit through God’s will for God’s blessings and let’s see includes us by loving others by being hospital I LIKE I WAS has been a hospital without grumbling and then sharing others with with the gifts that God has given to you. While you’re here this morning you’re in church and so God must be important you on some level but can you see that in your life in some way that this is taking place the god is instilling within you a desire to be a blessing to others and to give something of your life to others whether it’s financial resources whether it’s your time or whether it’s your service hopefully you can see that and as you see that in your life you think all I need cheering I’m growing up I’m I’m getting a more mature and better and I think this is also kind of the natural progression that people go through life kids go through stages where really due to no fault of their own they’re very selfish or self-centered as they’re young and then they grow up and then eventually they realize that not everything is handed to them right and what’s the fastest way someone goes from being selfish to being a giver they have children because of that when you have no choice it’s not about you anymore you’ve got to focus on your kids but when that happens when a change happens to us it’s a blessing and so that’s why God says it’s more blessed to give than to receive because you when you’re giving you are not being selfish now the third way that we find that it’s more blessing to be giving than the receiving is only devoted selves and it comes out of this when we devote ourselves to being a giver it helps us ultimately to be like Christ and that should be our goal in life you know here agrees about what church of Phoenix we want to develop committed followers of Christ we. Want to be like Christ and Christ is the ultimate example of someone who gave I don’t want to turn this passage body into fusions five verses one and two says therefore be imitators of God as beloved children and walk in love this Christ loved us and gave Himself for us a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God Jesus taught his disciples to be imitators of him and he showed them how to be givers Let’s go to a pretty familiar passage most of you are probably familiar with and Matthew Chapter fourteen.
Matthew Chapter fourteen this is when Christ fed the five thousand the loaves and the fish Matthew Chapter fourteen.
And will start in verse fifteen
Matthew Chapter fourteen.
Beginning in verse fifteen.
So now when it was evening the disciples came to him and said This is a desolate place in the day is now over to send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves but Jesus said they need not go away you give them something to eat I just don’t you wish you could have seen this you know Jesus knew exactly what is going to do and he’s trying to kind of get into their minds to get into their hearts you want to teach him a really important lesson here and they said to him We have only five loaves here and two fish and he said bring them here to me then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said of blessing then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples and the disciples gave them to the crowds and I think just that little verse there I think is more significant than we realize Jesus probably probably could have done this all by himself but including the disciples was I think teaching them a very valuable lesson verse twenty twenty. And they all ate and were satisfied and they took up twelve basketfuls of the broken pieces left over and those who ate were about five thousand men besides women and children. And I’m sure as exciting as it was for those disciples to witness as I wonder what kind of thoughts some of them had they’d probably never seen someone take that amount of food and feed probably ten thousand people and so I wonder if any of them as Christ gave them some some fish and some loaves I wonder if any of them thought it was not going to be enough to go around so I better eat first I’m going to eat really quick so that I get my fill you know how many of them were probably doubting you know they’re not going you know often so maybe they snuck how many how many of the disciples stuck some of the fish and bread I don’t know but every time they went back to Christ and they realized there’s more just imagine what their confidence did their confidence in Christ and they realize there’s nothing that he can’t provide us with he’s going to provide for us and he’s going to ride for everyone and that’s probably a very important lesson. For them to learn they could continue to go back to Christ he will give to them so that they can give to others and we see after Christ was buried he rose from the grave and he ascended into heaven we see what these disciples did minus one they gave their lives to serving Christ and they gave their lives to others and I think the same must be true for us when we make the decision to be a giver in life not a taker we become more like Jesus Christ and because none of us will ever arrive or be perfect in this life it’s good for us to be reminded of these things and so today over this Memorial Day weekend remember that this is something that we should all focus on and focus on it every day because we have no idea how much time we will have to faithfully serve Christ in this life something else I want to share and I hope I don’t get emotional this is actually kind of a bad sad memory but something else I’m never going to forget about Memorial Day and that is what happened on this date May twenty seventh six years ago in two thousand and eleven so wasn’t this day but it was this date the date when the day was actually Friday it was Friday before Memorial Day and you look around and you realize there’s not a lot of people here the most of them go camping and so on this Memorial Day back in two thousand and seven a whole bunch of us went out camping and and I remember where we’re setting up our our tents and we’re getting ready and after that I kind of walk around and you know talk to everybody at the different count sites and this this year Don interchange ins were up there they got up there early on Friday and I remember talking to them and talking to the Bennetts and talking to everyone else of their And and I remember as a couple hours before and I realize as I’m saying this money you don’t even know the story but a couple hours before it got dark I just remember. Hearing just some loud voices and there was something going on there was some panic going on it wasn’t. After I mean something wrong I remember going out looking in kind of looking over not direction like what’s going on and I remember hearing truck doors slamming shut and I remember seeing that it getting in his truck and just ripping through the campsite and I remember seeing Stacy Bennett in the back of the truck and she looked at me and I didn’t quite know what was going on but she said she’s not breathing.
And is because Trish had just had a massive heart attack and so they left and they drove down they went to pace and I remember us being up there for a couple hours and we’re done what happened what happened is she OK Is she gone and we couldn’t get cell reception of there and so eventually I got in my truck and I remember driving down and hoping that I’m going to find them and I turned one of the corners into Paysan and I saw the ambulance there and I saw you know some of our people I pulled over and I saw Don standing there and on what happened she she she’s gone she died probably of a camp and I remember getting into. The ambulance with Dawn Tricia’s body was in there and I remember Don just asking the question which is really interesting he said is God punishing me for this he punishing me for any reason and I remember going back up to the camp and the answer of course is no and I remember going back up to the camp and looking at Don and he’s holding his daughter Addison who is just about to turn one in just like a week or two and I remember he’s looking at Addison I just remember thinking she has no idea she has no idea what just took place and how her life is going to be so different.
I’ll never forget that weekend that that’s the last weekend when we went camping not necessarily because of that but but I’ll never forget that weekend and on a on a lighter note and I think on a note that brings a smile to my face I will also never forget her memorial service that next weekend. At Union hills we usually had two hundred two hundred twenty chairs set up and we said this is going to be big so. We put as many chairs in there as we could and they’re still worn enough we had people going out bringing the folding chairs in there. We had people driving through the parking lot there was no parking spaces they had to park down the street we had I think the count was about three hundred fifty to four hundred people in a building that met for about two hundred plus I think we broke every fire code imaginable. And it was just amazing to just stand there and look out and realize Trish should have touched a lot of people and there was I think a few reasons why there were so many people at her service first we were her church family she had grown up in Phoenix she was and I know that she also was a teacher at an elementary school and so all those people came together but I think another civil reason was and I’m not trying to to make more of Trish than than what she was but in many ways in her life she was a giver. She just gave She gave some of her time she loved kids and she made a true true impact on other people and the point of all this is this she only had and she didn’t know it but she only had thirty years to serve no one knew that Friday night that she was going to take her last breath.
And no one in this room knows how much more time you and I have to serve our Savior and so while we have breath in our lives we need to devote ourselves to being givers.
So this weekend I hope that you have fun I hope you take time to remember the people who gave but also remember what Christ said it is more blessed to give then to receive and so let’s devote our lives to be givers Let’s pray.
Dear Lord I thank you so much for your word that you’ve given to us this morning and all these passages that are teaching the same truth that we can go through life one of two ways we can make it all about ourselves and we’re going to become miserable and we’re going to be a burden on other people. Or we can realize that you are such a loving God and you are ready and willing to supply everything that we need not only for our own needs but so that we can also be a blessing to others and Lord it’s it’s a choice that we need to make we need to walk in step with the Holy Spirit and so father today as we just spend time remembering the people who gave so that we could have freedom so that our lives can be blessed them help us to remember it’s a choice that all of us need to make we don’t know how much time we have in this life we don’t know how much time until you return to call us home but we do know it’s our choice and so father today as you produce your fruit in our lives as we try to share the fruit of the spirit with others help us to have this mindset that Lord you have you have blessed us and you want us to give more than we receive and lord it alternately thank you for giving your son The gives us this hope and this teaching and we pray this now Christ most holy name Amen.