Thursday, February 19, 2015
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You know McDonald's, the hamburger people? Over the years they have built quite a juggernaut. They have had some of the most brilliant marketers in history I think. I mean, they have advertised McDonald's as a warm, friendly, fun place. And they kind of make every child in America want to eat there. Sometimes it has seemed like we were lousy parents if you didn't take them to Ronald's place to get a Happy Meal. You know, to pick up the toys, the cups from the hottest new movie, to play under the Golden Arches.
The other day I was in a McDonald's doing research, and I saw another side of their marketing genius. They wanted to get donations for their hospital where families with young cancer victims can stay. It's a great thing, and it's hard to get people to cough up money to give sometimes. So, what do you think they did? They made it fun. Near the counter they stationed this brightly colored plastic container. It was funnel shaped with a hole at the bottom, and the money would go down to the bottom and into a bank. But if you threw a coin into it, it went into these wide spirals around and around, down and down the funnel. It was kind of neat watching your donation spin and spin its way to its destination.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When Giving is Fun!"
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 9:7 where God describes how He wants us to feel about giving to Him. "Each man (it says) should give what he has decided in his heart to give, for God loves a cheerful giver." That word in the Greek is actually the word we get our word hilarious from. God's saying, "Give hilariously!"
Now, what I watched that day was McDonald's making it fun to give. They weren't pressuring or guilt-tripping us into giving to their cause. They just provided an opportunity to contribute and they made it fun. Now, I'm not recommending that we trade in offering plates for brightly colored funnels that slowly swirl your offering into a bank at the bottom. But I am suggesting that God intends for it to be pleasurable and exciting to give to His work.
Paul encourages us not to give like it's some spiritual tax you've got to pay or dues for being in God's club. He says to do it with a big smile. "I can't wait for the next chance to give. I love to give some of what I have to the work of Christ." That's what He wants our attitude to be. Is that what you feel?
How can giving be fun as God intended it to be? Well, first, give it to Jesus. Don't give it to a ministry, or a church, or an organization. You know, on that day the disciples were challenged by Jesus to find a way to feed those 5,000 people, they got a little boy to give his lunch, which, of course, Jesus multiplied miraculously. I think the only reason that boy gave up his lunch was because it was for Jesus. He actually handed it to one of Jesus' helpers, but he knew it was going to go to Jesus.
That's how we ought to give in any offering. When you see the offering plate coming, when you're considering your response to that request from one of God's servants, don't give it unless it's Jesus you're actually giving it to. You might be putting it in the hands of one of His workers, but it really is going to Jesus. You can lose the joy for giving if it's to a Christian organization. They might disappoint you and let you down. But it's always exciting to put it into the nail-scarred hands of Jesus, your Savior; an expression of your love to the one who withheld nothing for you.
Another factor that makes giving fun is thinking about the return on what you're going to give. In the verse before the "hilarious giving" verse, Paul says, "Remember this. Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. Whoever sows generously will also reap generously." You're building a reward account in heaven, and you can enjoy that forever and it will be huge compared to whatever you give.
Plus, for all eternity you are going to be celebrating with those people who were reached for Christ with the gifts you gave. So who needs a gimmick to make giving to God's work fun? Think about the Savior it's for and the returns it will bring. You won't be able to give without a smile.