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"Giving: An Integral Part of Mission"

James 2:1-9 Dec.4, 2017 by Chris Palmer

Elder, Living Water Christian Fellowship


The principle of "giving" originates from: John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He "gave" His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Because of God's word, our mindset needs to shift gears from ourselves to what can we do for others. Prov 22:9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

The true Christian goes through life as a "giver" {in time, money, help} and as a consequence is happy because "giving" is God's economy - what goes around, comes around.

Let's relate, "giving" to "missions". What is a mission? It's plainly, giving of yourself for God. Going on a mission can be: help one person, OR a group; and can be local, national OR international. Your purpose must always be godly - feed them, clothe them, teach them how to help themselves, teach God's word {Jesus Christ's life and death, heaven - and how to become connected with these through salvation}, be a "Christlike" example, and worship together praising God. That's a tall order. But do remember, going on a mission can satisfy one or any number of these descriptions. Our church family has participated in a few missions. As simple as helping Harvey and Deanna fetch wood, landscaping at Ernest's and remember helping Donna and myself up at the cottage. Wonderful times together and the payback is feeling good.



Now let's tie in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. This is individually led. Local churches or groups find a farmer to donate farmland to grow a crop on. Time and machinery is often donated. The crop is sold and monies given to the CFGB. There were approximately 264 projects in Canada. The Blyth churches support our local project. There was 45 acres split between a field near Londesboro and one north of Blyth. Corn and soybeans were grown and yielded a value of $26 K. Like ours, many projects have been running for 20 plus years. The Canadian Government matches 3:1 for food security work or 4:1 for food aid work up to a maximum of $25 million. This year, there was $39M given to 133 projects in 40 countries. The Canadian government has pledged $125 million, so this puts the CFGB on solid ground.

Nov.23 CFGB's Fall Information Meeting was held at Dungannon. Our guest speaker was Ruth Munyao from Kenya. She is with the Canadian Baptist Ministries. Ruth is a Senior Food Security Specialist in Africa. The CFGB not only provides food for starving people, but also teaches them how to feed themselves. This particular project gathered 2600 farmers from the Congo, Kenya and Rwanda. They are being taught better farming practices. Each of those countries has their own problems. Kenya, for example, has only 20% arable land yet must feed 40M people. The land is depleted and drought occurs often. These farmers, having just 1 acre to maybe 3 acres, receive seed and knowledge. For example, they are encouraged to use mulch to suppress weeds and keep the sun from drying out the ground. Crops like cassava, a tuber, is harvested at a different time and all of it can be eaten. Simple ideas, but they aren't aware of them. We have crop insurance and other safety nets, but for these farmers, the CFGB is their safety net. The program has changed people. They are now successful providers of food.

The Congo provides a different challenge. Lots of water, good soil but violence enters into the picture. Rebels will come and kill or kidnap you and steal your crop. Sounds a bit like the thief in John 10:10. The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy... Here, the project offers some security.



We must remember, the poor and downtrodden are just as important as, say, we are in God's eyes. Prov 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

God didn't make some rich and others poor, but rather He is the maker of all regardless what you are. Moreover, since all are equal before God, the poor should not be considered any less. Here is an example of worth and worth isn't always about money. Prov 19:1 Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

The intention of this verse is that poverty with integrity is better than wealth with dishonesty. Which one is more pleasing to God?

We must do what we can for people, not the environment, not designer causes but people because God loves them. Remember John 3:16. The Old Testament covers mostly the poor and oppressed. The New Testament introduces the idea of "Blessed are the poor in spirit..." of Matthew 5:3 {they don't know God}; it also maintains the need to be giving and caring for the poor as in John 13:29, "Some thought Jesus was telling [Judas] to…give some money to the poor."

Having a mission for God has just expanded.

We need to take a cue from the story about the rich young ruler in:

Luke 18:18-23 And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? None is good except One, God. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and your mother. And he said, I have kept all these from my youth up. And when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, Yet you lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

Although being a good man, he loved his worldly things more. The story is telling us that "giving" and "follow Me" - being a disciple - are paramount to a healthy Christian life.

Then we read: Luke 18:24f And having seen him becoming very sad, Jesus said, How hardly those having riches shall enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go in through a needle's eye than for a rich one to enter into the kingdom of God.

It becomes apparent that the "poor in spirit" can easily be a rich person as well.

These verses are often interpreted incorrectly. You don't have to sell everything and actually give it away. Jesus knew the man's true love and it wasn't God. For those who love God and want to give to the poor, God gives right back. So beautifully stated in: Prov 19:17 He who has pity on the poor lends to God, and He will repay his dealing to him.

Here God guarantees the gift.

In: Prov 28:27 He who gives to the poor shall not lack, but he who hides his eyes shall have plenty of curses.

We are commanded to pay attention to those less fortunate in our midst. And when we give, God will give back.

The mission field broadens.

Think about this one - do we tend to show preference to those who happen to be better off? James 2:1-6 My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?"

If a man in a three-piece suit and an old guy wearing patched, oversized, ragged pants and yesterday's shirt faced you at the door, which one would you approach first? We have a lot to learn from James because he is addressing us.

For those of us who participate at the Wingham Christmas dinner, we have learned to serve our guests with dignity. It has been a humbling experience for all. This continues to be a wonderful local mission.



Not everyone is receptive to the Gospel. Paul spoke boldly for 3 months about the Kingdom of God, however: Acts 19:9 But when some were hardened, and did not obey, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, departing from them, he separated the disciples, conversing day by day in the school of a certain Tyrannus.

It seems impossible but some people actually refused to believe. So you try and give the Word a chance, but move on if necessary. "Shake the dust off your sandals."

Jesus' mission as "Saviour" includes bringing deliverance to those who are oppressed, in various forms. Act 10:38 Jesus the One from Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all those having been oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.

Oppression of people is everywhere. Especially believers in Christ, who may then find themselves in opposition to popular culture. Whether it's in China where believers have to meet in secret for fear of death, or in North America where freedom permits too much distraction and temptation. Believers in Christ are at odds with "the system"! So we need to stand strong and spread the Good Word.

To recap: the mission field is here, there, and everywhere. It needs to include those that are poor, wealthy, oppressed and hardened against God.



We started with John 3:16, "God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son...."

It's only fitting to end with: 2Cor 8:9 "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."

Jesus gave Himself for us. He died on that rugged cross so we, whether rich or poor, secure or threatened, have the riches of eternal life. Think about it, if Jesus Christ did not go on that mission 2000 years ago, what would our future be?

Let's pray.