Is It True That You Can’t Out Give God? 

Consider the testimony of Dr. D. James Kennedy, world-renowned Presbyterian minister

About twenty-five years ago I began an experiment of which some of you have been the witnesses. That experiment began, as you may remember, when I gave my annual sermon on stewardship. The president of a Christian college was here and he later wrote me a letter and said, “I enjoyed your message, particularly your statement: ‘You can’t outgive God.’ I believe that and I’ve been experimenting with it for the last [so many years] and I’ve been increasing the portion of my salary, which I have been giving back to the Lord’s work by 5 percent per year. I am now up to 50 percent and I’m really looking forward to seeing what is going to happen.”

I said to myself, “You idiot. I’ll tell you what is going to happen. You’re increasing it 5 percent a year and you’re up to 50 percent. Another ten years and you won’t have anything.” I threw the letter aside. Never answered it. I did, by the way, a couple of years ago have this fellow here to speak, and I confessed my sin to him. However, it bugged me for months and months that I did not seem to really be taking my own words seriously. Did I really believe you can’t outgive God? 

Finally, I thought I had better face up to that, so I started increasing my giving. I think I was giving about a tithe and a 5 percent offering, about 15 percent at the time. I increased it to 25 percent, and I thought that was doing pretty good, and then next year to 50 (I didn’t have this fellow’s patience, either). Then to 75, and then to 90, and then to 100, the “h” word, “hundred.” Did I have nothing? To my astonishment, I had more money left than I had ever had before. 

John Bunyan tells us about a man: “There was a man, some called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had.” Can you say that? I hope you remember that. I found out that I was the one who was wrong, and my college president friend was right. I really hadn’t planned to go any farther than 100[percent, but I thought, “Well, I’ll try it the second time around—the tithe, that is—namely 110 percent of my salary,” and God blessed me even more, so I went to 150 percent. 

I guess I stayed there for 12-14 years. I finally figured out why. My faith ran out at 150. I never realized that before, but that is what happened. So last year we went to 165 percent and the beginning of this year, we said, “We’re going to 200.” We were going to go 200 percent this year. Then our house burned on July 2, and there were a lot of expenses, so I said to myself, “Well, with all of this, obviously, I can’t give 200 percent, so I had better increase it.” (I told you he was mad.) 

You see, the principle I work by is that if you need more, you give more. Those who sow sparingly, reap sparingly, and those who sow bountifully, reap bountifully, so it’s now my determination to give more than 200 percent. This is sort of a culmination of a long drawn out experiment of 25 years, and I want you to know how faithful God is. 

I want you to understand something: This has nothing to do with my generosity, because I didn’t have it. I want you to know, also, that I would decide to do this and then do it—not wait to see if I had the money and then give it, but decide to give the first fruits and then leave it up to God. 

It is a matter of doing it – verse 6
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

It is a matter of the heart – verse 7
7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

It is a matter of God’s faithfulness to His Word – verse 8ff
8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.


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Is It True That You Can’t Out Give God? 
2 Corinthians 9:6-11
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.