Have you ever stopped to think about why talking about money is such a sensitive topic? Money is often the center for many of our arguments, relational breakdowns, stress, frustrations, and worries. It kinda makes sense seeing as how we spend a large portion of our week and our lives working for it. We give up so much time and effort to gain money that is is often something that we hold very close to us and care much about. Money, or the lack thereof, often determines what we can and can’t do in life and what we can and can’t possess. But more than that, how we choose to handle our money is one of the greatest reflections of the priorities in our lives. And honestly, is often one of the most brutal mirrors into what we really believe is important. In this week of our series Scoreboard, we see from the Bible why generosity is such an important marker in how we are doing spiritually and how rearranging the priority of generosity in our lives can allow us to grow deeper in our relationship with God.



The past two weeks we have been in a series called Scoreboard, looking at

the different behaviors that a growing Christ follower should be living out. So far, we’ve

talked about Intentional to help others find faith in God and Relational with other Christ

followers. We need both.


Card to Self-Evaluate: Am I thriving? Am I growing? Do I need significant improvement?

Third Marker: Generous – Give to God first.

This week’s subject is so important because it is one of the most accurate reflections of

someone’s heart and faith. So many of us say we are all-in on following Christ and yet this

is the area that we hold back. Because it takes the most faith.

Genesis 4:3-5

When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground.


it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord.

4Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock.

The Lord accepted Abel and his gift,

5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made

Cain very angry, and he looked dejected.


Both gifts reflect how each brother feels about God. Both love God.

Cain gave a generic gift out of obligation. He just grabbed some crops

from his harvest and brought them to God.

Sign of a Growing Christ Follower: I give at least the first 10% back to God.

First Fruit: first of the harvest are brought to the temple and dedicated to God because

that is actually his according to the Bible

Abel gave the best portions of his first born of his flock. His first fruits.

You think this is about an amount. It’s not about how much you give. It’s about

how you view your finances. Do you remember where your money come from? It’s not

about how much you give. It’s about how much you love God demonstrated in how you

give. It’s about the priority of God in your life.

Our gifts reflect our love for Christ. Abel gave the very first portion of his flock. Cain

waited until he looked at all that he had and then decided what he would give God. So

who demonstrated a deeper love for God? The guy who gave as his first priority.

The guy who gave to God first, not the guy who gave out of his leftovers.

Do you give God your first fruits or your leftovers?

Jesus talks about this first fruits and tithing concept centuries later.

Luke 11:39-42 Then Jesus said to him, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the

dish, but inside you are filthy- full of greed and wickedness! 40 Fools! Didn’t God make the

inside as well as the outside? 41 So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will

be clean all over.

42 “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even

the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God.”

You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

In the Bible, the first fruits, or the tithe is the spiritual obedience of giving our first to God.

He commands us to, so it is his.  God gives us everything and then asks for the first 10% as a step of faith to acknowledge that

we trust him enough to live on 90% of what he gave us. That’s minimal obedience.

My response to this issue of generosity reveals my heart. It’s a reflection of my faith.

John Piper: the love of money is a condition of the heart that feels more security, more pleasure, and

more hope in earthly possessions than it does in the faithfulness of God.

I find more stability, more pleasure, and more meaning in the security of my

money than in the goodness of God. We don’t like having to put ourselves in a place

where God has to show up to take care of us. It forces me to depend on God. But it also

forces me to live within my means. And that’s hard for us to do.

Credit Card Debt: 43% of Americans/ 80% have any kind of debt (house, car, s. loans)

We are spending more money than we have. And then because

we have overspent, we aren’t tithing because we can’t afford to. So not only are we living

way above our means, but we are using God’s portions to cover the difference.

Mark 12:41-44 41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds

dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts.

42Then a poor widow

came and dropped in two small coins.

43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell

you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making


44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has

given everything she had to live on.”

We think it’s about the amount, but it’s not. They gave a tiny part of their surplus. It’s not

your leftover after you’ve done everything else you want to do with what God has given

you. God wants your first fruits.


What we do behind closed doors reveals our true faith. Giving to God doesn’t give us

an outward reward. Some of us display to the world that we are all in but behind closed

doors God sees that you aren’t being as generous as he has called you to be.

And he wants to use your treasure to change hundreds of lives around you

Grace Church Offering: Their generosity blessed hundreds of lives today

Sign of a Growing Christ Follower: I leverage my money to be a blessing to others.

Where we put our money demonstrates where we put our heart.

We give so that we can help bring families together for free town events. So that we can

help pay scholarships for students to go to Bible college. So that we can support

missionaries and church planters all over the world. So that we can help hundreds of

families enter the foster care system to care for the orphans in our zip codes. So that we

can feed you if you are having a hard month.

The only way we can do that is because there are people in our church that have

decided to put God first give him the first fruits that belong to him.

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same

way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of

generosity in you.

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be

generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.


Sign of a Growing Christ Follower: I manage all of my assets in a Godly way.

If I’m going to be live a Godly life, I have to manage my money in a Godly way.

Because that is a reflection of the priorities of my heart. That’s a step of obedience. If I am

truly growing closer to Christ, I am becoming more generous. And I can’t do that if I’m not

giving at least the bare minimum that he asks for.


What you are choosing to give God and not give God are a reflection of your heart.

How can you leverage your money to be a blessing to others?

Are you giving God your first fruits or your leftovers?

Next Step: Start Giving; Give to obedience; Give generously

Generosity unlocks a heart of greed. Generosity unlocks a heart of doubt. And also,

generosity can be used by God to impact lives, feed the poor, everyone in this room has

enough to be generous.


Give to God first. He’ll take care of you. Because he put you in this

church family, and we are here for you.