Nehemiah - God Rebuilds Us: The Generosity Paradox
Topic: Biblical Passage: Nehemiah 5:1–5:16
Revelation 21:1–3 (HCSB)
The New Creation
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. 2 I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.
INSPIRED~INVESTED~INCREASE Dependent/Prayer~Action~Persevere (conflict)
There was a widespread outcry from the people and their wives against their Jewish countrymen. 2 Some were saying, “We, our sons, and our daughters are numerous. Let us get grain so that we can eat and live.” 3 Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, vineyards, and homes to get grain during the famine.” 4 Still others were saying, “We have borrowed money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. 5 We and our children are just like our countrymen and their children, yet we are subjecting our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters are already enslaved, but we are powerless because our fields and vineyards belong to others.”
Kingdom Life promises abundance and building walls demands it.
Nehemiah 5: HOW DO WE RECIVE ABUNDANCE? (richness, blessedness, fullness, abundance, resources)
1. Does the traditional understanding of wealth yield more fruit or.... (vss. 1-11)?
2. Does the Gospel generosity yield more fruit... (vss. 12-19)?
Traditional way: Ruled by a contradiction
There is a philosophy of life (a guiding principle) that begins to snare the heart.
“Get all you can out of life...always look out for number one... we need more to fall to the bottom line... I made mine and if you want yours, go earn it... Only the strong survive..”
Ken Blanchard and S. Truett Cathy, The Generosity Factor
“There are a variety of kinds of practices of generosity that are positively and significantly associated with five important good life outcomes. Giving money, volunteering, being relationally generous, being a generous neighbor and friend, and personally valuing the importance of being a generous person are all significantly, positively correlated with greater personal happiness, physical health, a stronger sense of purpose in life, avoidance of symptoms of depression, and a greater interest in personal growth.”
Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson, The Paradox of Generosity
1. For them (vss. 1-5), for humanity, it’s never enough. The old conventional way will never provide enough abundance.
Ezekiel 16:49 (HCSB)
Now this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, plenty of food, and comfortable security, but didn’t support the poor and needy.
Proverbs 22:16 (HCSB)
Oppressing the poor to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich—both lead only to poverty.
2. We serve an extremely generous God. He has given us this principle to put His glory on display.
James 1:5 (HCSB)
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
Ephesians 1:3–8 (HCSB)
God’s Rich Blessings
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. 4 For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.
7 We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
3. In keeping with His generosity, ABUNDANCE comes through gospel generosity.
Nehemiah 5:14–16 (HCSB)
Good and Bad Governors
Furthermore, from the day King Artaxerxes appointed me to be their governor in the land of Judah—from the twentieth year until his thirty-second year, 12 years —I and my associates never ate from the food allotted to the governor. 15 The governors who preceded me had heavily burdened the people, taking food and wine from them, as well as a pound of silver. Their subordinates also oppressed the people, but I didn’t do this, because of the fear of God. 16 Instead, I devoted myself to the construction of the wall, and all my subordinates were gathered there for the work. We didn’t buy any land.
Proverbs 11:24–25 (HCSB)
One person gives freely, yet gains more; another withholds what is right, only to become poor. 25 A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water.
2 Corinthians 9:6–10 (HCSB)
Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 9 As it is written: He scattered; He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever. 10 Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.
How do we engage this principle of abundance?
1. Give FIRST
God said, "Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God."
2. Connect FIRST (MC, Grace, 180, SEND, ETHIOPIA, MAKE YOUR MARK, OUTBOUND BRIDGES)
3. Serve FIRST
More in Nehemiah
February 16, 2020Nehemiah - God Rebuilds Us: Generosity Paradox part 2
February 2, 2020Nehemiah - God Rebuilds Us: Persevere
January 26, 2020Nehemiah - God Rebuilds Us: B.U.I.L.D. Together