Leeds Vineyard

A Beautiful Rhythm of Life - Generosity 

A Beautiful Rhythm of Life

1 Timothy 6: 6-10, 17-19

We continue the series; A Beautiful Rhythm Of Life. We are learning about some of the false narratives, the lies about ourselves that we find ourselves believing and behaving. We are discovering the beautiful rhythm of life that Jesus can teach us which confounds and defeats these false narratives.

Here are a couple of false narratives about money:
Rich is good, Poor is bad
Rich is bad, Poor is good

The antidote to false narratives about money is generosity.
Our culture thinks rich is good. We pay someone to kick a football £300,000 per week. The government preaches the gospel of the GDP. The clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the houses we live in, the jobs we do - they are all designed to say rich is good and poor is bad.


Rich is good and poor is bad except when someone is richer than us. Then rich is bad. Bad used to be the fat cats, the company directors with spectacular share options schemes. Now bad is: the bankers with their bonuses. Rich is bad when someone has got more than we have.
Bob Crow illustrates the complexities. He is the leader of the RMT, the largest transport union. He is a socialist, looking after working people in the transport industry, living in a council house. So, for him, you would think that rich is bad, poor is good.
He defines a rich person as someone who earns more than £100,000. Trouble is, he is earning £145,000 and has just come back from a £10,000 cruise whilst his members got ready for a tube strike. Im not criticizing him, just pointing out that there are some incongruities in our attitudes to money.
If someone starts out poor and then becomes rich over time at what point does their wealth become bad? Or if you are really wealthy how poor do you have to get before you become good?


If we believe that being rich or poor is good or bad we are listening to a false narrative.
See if you can guess which narrative is running in someones mind here:

  • Thats a nice new outfit youre wearing there I got it in Oxfam.

  • Praying for someones business to succeed, "Lord bless their business, bring them new customers and help them make some money".

  • Speaking poorly of the rich (someone with more than us), how can they justify sending their children to private school?

  • Being extra friendly to the well-dressed couple that visit rather than the homeless guy.

  • Speculating in shares or property.

  • Earning a high salary but keeping it very quiet.

  • Putting an inordinate amount of time into chasing bargains.

  • Sacrificing time with the family in order to hold down a high-flying job.

  • Someone turns up in a new car or with a new guitar envy.

  • Living well and then feeling guilty about it.

  • Giving to the poor not out of generosity but from guilt.

  • Congratulating someone on a new, well-paying job.

  • Investing in a pension.

Its hard to think straight about money isnt it?
When people learn about Jesus they are introduced to a whole new rhythm of life. Jesus taught a radical message of generosity (theres more happiness in giving than receiving) and he demonstrated generosity in his life.

Philippians 2:6-7

Jesus...being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.


Jesus, the Son of God, went from ultimate wealth, riches beyond compare, power, honour, glory and gave it up, voluntarily, to take on humanity and poor humanity at that. Further, he gave up life itself. Why? So that we may be rescued and inherit eternal life.

Jesus gave up a high place but was then restored to it.
He says, blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth.

Poverty and wealth have their place.
The narrative that rich is good, poor is bad, or that rich is bad, poor is good is false. Its a subtle temptation sent to confuse. We are distracted by the amount.

The amount is not important.

Whats important is our heart. 1 Timothy 6 helps us understand this.

1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19

v.6, 8      Religion is not a way to get rich. The gospel is not a route to prosperity. Gain or profit in life is experienced through contentment not through wealth. Contentment not from accumulating things because food and clothing is all we need, but through an understanding of the truth of Jesus love for us.

v.7           Salvation puts us in a different dimension of time. This short spell on earth ends as it begins skin and bones. U2, Youve got to leave it all behind. There are no pockets in a shroud. It is a mistake to put all your energies into this present world and forget about what you can do to make a difference in the next.

v.9, 10    Its all about our heart. If we want to get rich, if our hearts are aching for wealth, if our love is for money were walking off the path into a trap. Jesus said that You cant love God and money. One displaces the other from the throne of your heart. If your decision-making is dominated by money, if your thoughts are pre-occupied by money, then God does not have His rightful place as your King and Lord.
And that means His Holy Spirit will find it difficult to whisper wisdom in your ear, and that means you will wander from the path in danger of putting your foot in a man-trap far from His well-lit way.
It seems that rich is bad and poor is good then doesnt it?
So what am I meant to say to the rich then? Give it all away. Downsize your house. Sell your car, live poor? No.
v.17        If you are rich, listen to the warnings about where you put your hope and your identity.
(1) Dont let wealth make you arrogant. If you have been blessed with Bob Crows income, a shiny motor car and a big house, fantastic. Thank God for it and enjoy it. But dont let it make you proud of yourself. Yes, God loves you and died for you. He also loves the homeless guy and He died for him too.
Having lots of stuff doesnt make you a better person (or a worse person) it just makes you a person with lots of stuff for a while.
(2) Dont put your hope in your pension plan, your business, your earning potential. Moth and rust and the next banking crisis can take away your financial security. And anyway, all your wealth does nothing for your eternity. Your hope for today and for tomorrow and forever must rest in God, in a Saviour who has rescued and redeemed you for eternity.

v. 18       What is expected of a wealthy person? To do good things and to be generous.
The rich may be able to be generous with their money but often they are super busy and struggle to be generous with practical help and their time. But if you are rich, and most of us are, it also means we have resources, influence, networks, knowledge. You know how to play the system to get our children into good schools or how to negotiate a good deal when we buy a new car. So you know how to do good things.

Heres the thing, rich isnt bad. There is no instruction here for the rich to give up their wealth to get poor. The instruction is how to use it.
v. 19       The Beautiful Rhythm. There is an eternal perspective to this. The way you handle your money has its real impact in the long term, for eternity. For the trillions of years you will live in the new heaven and the new earth, where there is no death or crying or sorrow or pain. You cant open a bank account there but you can build treasure. You can send your wealth on ahead. How? Through generosity.
The Beautiful Rhythm of Life that God gives us for handling wealth and money, is generosity.
If I asked you, Are you a giver or a taker? What would you be? Are you someone who is known for your generosity of time, hospitality, skills, money? Or are you someone who takes?

Donuts 5You might need to listen to the podcast to understand the references to doughnuts. It's a long story! 


Here are some simple parts of the financial Rhythm of Generosity:

Thanking God because it all belongs to Him (Psalm 24:1)

Meditate on what this means. How does understanding that everything we have (our house, our pension plan, our career, our income, our gifts and abilities etc) belong to him affect the decisions we make - particularly the decisions about money?


Although we could discuss whether this means 10% of your income or not the principle is clear. In whatever form your wealth, income, blessing arrives, the bible instructs us to take the first, the best, the "top" part, the first-fruits, and give it to the church you go to. If you are a high earner then 10% will be just the start. If you don't earn much then the Lord may give you a different nudge. Sort it out before you rush off and spend the money. And you will be amazed at what God can do with the 90% left. It seems to go much further than 100% without giving. 


But maybe you don't need all the money you have coming in. If so, be generous in offerings. Loo out for the people who are struggling on what they do have. Ask the Lord to nudge you about where else you should give "his" money. Perhaps giving more generously to your church. Perhaps supporting the Vine or another charity.

Revelation as well as reason

This is where you get to develop a history of faith-filled decisions. This is where you begin to place major deposits in your heavenly treasury. So far we have looked at rational, reasoned, organised giving. But often you should simply turn to the Lord with the question of, "How much money do you want me to give to XYZ?" - without first checking your budget or bank account. And if the response you hear doesn't make you gulp it's probably not God! This is where you give sacrificially, beyond what is obviously OK. And this is where the Lord's promise, "You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding yours, in the glory that pour from Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, Message) can be proven. God is not man's debtor. You can't outgive God.

Spontaneous as well as planned

As well as being reasoned and rational most of the time, it is good to be planned and organised. This creates discipline in your thinking and discipleship. It is also extremely helpful to the church you support as income is more predictable that way. But there is a place for spontaneous giving. A time when you just empty your pockets, make the transfer - spontaneously. Perhaps you haven't thought enough about where the money is going but that isn't the point. Giving, particularly spontaneous giving, breaks the power of money in your life. Make sure that from time to time you give without having thought about it beforehand. Find yourself just responding, maybe irresponsibly, to a request for money. Just to check that it isn't controlling you. 


Generosity - A Beautiful Rhythm of Life

When it comes to what we have money, skills, time, influence the beautiful example we have been given is Jesus who gave everything for us.

  • Generosity is hallmark of the disciple of Jesus.

  • Generosity is the characteristic that sets the disciple apart.

  • You are identified as a follower of the most generous one by your generosity.

  • Intimacy with Jesus allows his generosity to spill out of your life.

Whatever your financial situation you are a pauper without the grace and mercy of Jesus. We are all recipients of cosmic generosity and the beneficiaries of ultimate sacrifice. He who has everything gave it up so that we who have nothing may be rescued.
We are meant to be rich – rich in good deeds and generosity. Wealth that generates eternal dividends, accumulating treasures in the life to come. We are meant to have many bags of donuts.
We are meant to be poor to be radically sacrificial in our lives, be willing to give up everything for him who gave us everything. Being willing to share all our donuts.
You and I are called to radical sacrificial generosity giving our time, our energy and our money to him.


1 Timothy 6:6-10
Protect your heart from idolatry and disastrous damage. Dont let your heart be captured by wealth or tainted by greed. Neither be envious or judgmental.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
Instead do good, be rich in good deeds, be generous and willing to share.
May we be a generous church.
May you be a generous disciple.