Finding Hope in showing Mercy

Rod Hutton July 30, 2023 Luke 10:25-37

1 Peter 4:10 - As each one of us has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Exodus 34:6b - ...the Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and merciful, slow to anger and abounding and loving kindness and truth.

Ephesians 2:4 - But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.

Romans 12:6-8 - Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

“Mercy (v 8): This is a gift of people specifically moved to work with the poor, the sick, the weak, the prisoner, the addicted, the elderly and so on.” (Keller - Romans 8-16 For You, p.113)

3 aspects demonstrated when we use the gift of mercy

I. A Gift to be Shared with Every Neighbor

Luke 10:30 - Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.”

A. An act of love

Luke 10:27 - And he answered, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Matthew 9:27 - …two blind men followed Him, crying out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!”

Matthew 15:22 - Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon possessed.

B. Shared without boundaries

C. To meet a variety of needs

1. Outside the church

2. Inside the church

Acts 9:36 - Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.

2 Timothy 1:16-18 - May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.

D. To be given freely - with cheerfulness (Romans 12:8)

II. A Gift that Uses What God Has Provided You (Luke 10:33-35)

A. Mercy flows from a heart of compassion

Luke 10:33b - When he saw him, he felt compassion…

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 - Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

B. Mercy has a cost

Luke 10:34 - …and he came to him and bandaged him up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

James 2:15-16 - If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

C. Mercy takes time

D. Kindness uses the resources that you have - God does not ask you to give what He has not provided

E. Mercy seeks the person’s continuing good

III. A Gift that Reveals Your Heart (Luke 10:36-37)

Luke 10:36 - Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robber’s hands?

Luke 10:37 - And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

A. Mercy shows you are acting as a neighbor

B. Mercy reveals a heart for the Lord

We’re continuing the second portion of our summer series, Hope for Fruitful Service, which Pastor Greiner introduced last week

He provided a broad overview of the nature of spiritual gifts

In short, they are impartations of the Holy Spirit to all who are in Christ

In other words, all Christians get at least one gift the moment they surrender to the Lordship of Jesus and receive forgiveness for their sins

This gift is to be used for the building of Christ’s body—the church

Though Scripture doesn’t claim to provide an exhaustive list of these gifts, several are spelled out in various passages

We’re taking some time to highlight a few of them – the one we’re gonna be talking about today is The Spiritual Gift of Giving

To do so, we’re gonna take a look at a dynamic passage that speaks poignantly on the matter – 2 Corinthians 9 (turn there)

As you’re getting there, let me provide some context into the passage before we narrow in on verses 5-8… (*first, neat gift to study in the context of spiritual gifts)

*context of 2 Cor

With that, please follow along with me as I read the passage


5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness. 6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

With the time we have remaining, let’s consider 4 essential attributes of giving as we investigate this spiritual gift

The first point provides context into the spiritual gift of giving – the remaining three give us action steps to walk out the gift

The first aspect of giving is that…

I. Generosity is Presumed for Christians (9:5)

There are some gifts that you either have or you don’t…

And there’s pretty good reason to not place folks in positions where that gift would be necessary

For instance, someone who lacks any leadership ability – whether natural or spiritual – should not be placed in positions of… leadership

Or someone with no ability to teach shouldn’t be shifted over to a serving position where… teaching is required

But there are some spiritual gifts where a select few have a profound spiritual blessing in that area, yet all are called to exercise it to some degree

Giving is certainly one of those gifts

So let’s first look at the broad concept of generosity before looking at the specific gift of giving…

A. It is an expectation of all Christians

In other words, we can’t make any excuses for a lack of generosity…

You can decline to serve as the administrator of the church’s budget because you know that if you were put in that position, it’d be a race to see whether bankruptcy or the IRS comes first

In other words, you’d sink that ship real fast…

There’s no such excuse regarding giving

If God has blessed you financially and your brother-in-law is heading out to the mission field and asks for some support, you can’t argue that God placed you in His accounts receivable department and that he should call up someone from accounts payable instead…

Or when someone sees you on your phone playing candy crush and asks if you’d help them carry in a grocery bag or two, you can’t say “sorry – I just don’t have the spiritual gift of generosity”

We could go to a lot of passages to show the universality of generosity among Christians, but John’s first epistle utilizes the gospel of Christ to make this point…

1 John 3:16-18 – We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.

One of the signs of being a Christian is generosity…

Christ’s work is necessary in two respects here:

1) Christ functions as the model of generosity

We know what giving is, because God so loved the world that He… GAVE

Specifically, He gave Christ that we may have salvation in Him

But Jesus’s life was one of exemplary giving and sacrifice – of His time, talents, and treasures (as we phrase it around here)

Not only do we know love by what Jesus did (as this passage states it), we know generosity because of Christ’s life

But secondly,

2) Christ functions as the agent of generosity

If it’s essential and emblematic for a Christian to show genuine generosity towards others, then the opposite must be true

Those outside of Christ would be incapable of showing genuine generosity

Certainly there are counterfeits – the same is true for all fruit and gifts of the Spirit – but gospel-like generosity requires the work of Christ in our lives

We need Jesus if we want genuine generosity

*gospel plug (He gave generously and freely)

So we see that giving is an expectation of all who are in Christ – but…

B. It is an imparted gift of the Spirit

We see it specifically listed among several others in Romans 12:

Romans 12:6-8 – Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Someone who has a spiritual gift of giving will display a unique level of liberality – a word that (in the Greek) holds a great deal of meaning

It’s primarily used to convey sincerity or genuineness of heart, but also includes generosity

You’ve likely seen what this person is like

They’re the first to pull out their billfolds when the check comes by, the most eager to offer up their God-given abilities when given the chance, and so on

The engagement ring my wife wears is a perpetual reminder of this gift…

*story of engagement ring

But our passage makes it clear…

C. It is spoiled through covetousness

2 Corinthians 9:5 – So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.

What is coveting?

We know that it made the list of ten commandments in Exodus 20 – “you shall not covet … anything that belongs to your neighbor”

We know that Paul used it as an example of the efficacy of the law in Romans 7

And we also know, according to James 4, that it’s something that each of us struggles with!

Coveting is sinfully desiring something under someone else’s possession for yourself

You’re discontent with your life and are jealous of hers

You’re fed up with your car and would finally be happy if you had that brand new Corvette that you torturously drive by every day on your way back from work

You want her looks, his talent, her kids, his physique – on and on and on

Coveting has eyes to take – generosity has eyes to give… (*repeat)

It’s little wonder that the two are pitted against one another

For each of us to grow in our giving, we must identify the covetousness in lives, and purge it from our hearts through repentance

And after that, we need to walk in generosity

One of the first steps towards this end is…

II. Embrace the Logic of Giving (9:6)

There was once a famer who harvested a great deal of corn in September – the Lord greatly blessed his fields

Some of it he sold to various distributors to cover his costs and some of it he retained as seed for the next planting season, when May would roll around

As the winter months came, that extra seed started looking pretty good

Though he had plenty for himself and his family, he thought, “why should I go to the trouble of planting all of this corn when I could eat it right now?”

Little by little, he dwindled his seed supply – Corn bread, creamy corn, corn on the cob, Texas caviar, corn chowder, corn dip, corn chips; the list goes on

May finally arrives and it’s time to plant

He’s able to seed only one-fifth of his acreage – he’d consumed the other 4/5th for himself

What should that man expect when September’s harvest rolls around?

2 Corinthians 9:6 – Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

In other words…

A. View your resources as a means, not an end

What’s this? (*hold up $20 bill)

For those who can see the denomination, it’s clearly a $20 bill

But let’s adopt the language of our passage – according to verse 6, what is this?

A seed

As we know with any seed, there are only a few things you can do with it:

(1) you can use it to sustain yourself,

(2) you can squander it (i.e., let it rot), or

(3) you can plant it

Of course, there are other possibilities like “theft” – but these are the three main areas

The first (using it to sustain yourself) is necessary due to the way the Lord has created us – we’re dependent creatures that require food, shelter, water, clothing, etc.

Children and other dependents require the same

It wasn’t wrong for the farmer to sell a good portion of his crop to cover his cost, nor was it wrong for him to consume a reasonable amount for himself

The same goes for us – we can use a modest amount of what the Lord’s given us to ensure we have what’s required to sustain us

There’re even occasions to enjoy the excess of the Lord’s blessing in our lives!

But covetousness can lead us to consume more than what’s pleasing to Christ, as we dig into that which He would have us plant – which is what happens in our second example…

Secondly, each of us is guilty of squandering the metaphorical seed the Lord has given us, allowing it rot

When we purchase that 3rd jet ski for our family of two, we store it away in the shed and watch it slowly succumb to time and entropy

When we watch that 5th consecutive episode of that one show, for the 4th day in a row, we sit idly by as our schedule and brain rots away…

When we squirrel away our finances into a static bank account, we watch as inflation and subsequent generations gradually consume that fickle storehouse

Lastly, we can plant that which the Lord has given us!

There are many obvious ways to accomplish this that produce lasting produce

Invest in the gospel through supporting missionaries, or giving your time towards evangelism

Invest in Christ’s bride through involvement and sacrificial giving in the local church – the stated purpose for spiritual gifts

Invest in the lives of others with your time, talent and treasure, freely giving to any who are in need

(*hold up $20 bill) What will you do with your seed?

I do want to provide a caveat – this isn’t a health, wealth, and prosperity message…

In other words, I’m not saying “if you plant your seed of $20 into Faith West’s coffer, you’ll reap $100!”

God’s promise is that those who sow bountifully will reap bountifully – you may know what you sow, but He doesn’t say what you’ll reap

You may generously give of your time to the homeless shelter, shamelessly proclaiming the gospel to anyone and everyone there

But what you reap, from your perception of things, is rejection and job loss…

God may be using you as a blunt tool to break ground for the gospel, and he may have allowed you to lose your job for the purpose of gaining incomparable wisdom

I can’t give you the specifics—I can only give you the promise, and call you to…

B. Trust God with all you have

What did that farmer lack?

Certainly he had a lot of issues – he lacked foresight, he lacked self-control, his covetousness led him to lack seed, and so forth

But he also lacked faith

Those who have the gift of giving often have the twin spiritual gift of faith

They think, “I can be generous with others because God will take care of me”

This is how David E. Garland explains the matter:

“Reluctance to sow generously, then, reflects a refusal to trust that God is all sufficient and all gracious. It also assumes that we can only give when we are prospering and have something extra that we will not need for ourselves. Paul says that at all times God provides us with all that we need so there is never any time when we cannot be generous.” – David E. Garland, NAC: 2 Corinthians, 407–408.

The farmer is entrusting his crop to the Lord as he puts it in the ground

He can’t make anything sprout up

He can’t cause it to rain

He can’t keep his crop from natural disaster

He must simply place it in the Lord’s capable hands that He’ll provide what’s necessary

The same goes for us – when we give of anything, we’re necessarily not keeping it for ourselves, placing us in a position of relative vulnerability

As Christians, we entrust ourselves into God’s capable hands every time we practice genuine generosity

But would you rather be in your hands, or His?

So first, each of us is to practice generosity, but some have a unique spiritual gifting of giving

Second, trust that if you sow bountifully, you’ll reap bountifully

This leads us to our third point…

III. Strive for Proper Giving Motivations (9:7)

In verse 5, we see Paul setting up the facilitation of a bountiful gift that the Corinthian church had promised at an undisclosed time prior

After reciting a proverb-of-sorts in verse 6, he picks up where he’d left off in 5, urging the church to…

A. Act upon conviction

2 Corinthians 9:7a – Each on must do just as he has purposed in his heart…

Since generosity is an overflow of a Christian’s life, the Spirit will convict him or her when a need is presented

And though that may be the case experientially, it’s not necessarily what Paul’s talking about here

This “purposing in [one’s] heart” has more to do with a standing conviction—a predetermination towards generosity that serves as a credo in a Christian’s life

“Christ has been generous with me – I will be generous with others”

Brothers and sisters – this is a declaration that each one of us must live by!

While God has given our church several who have the spiritual gift of giving, all of us are expected to live... genuinely... generously…

To do this, we must…

B. Repent of improper giving motivations

2 Corinthians 9:7b – …not grudgingly or under compulsion…

We’ve all done it, and it’s been done to all of us…

*story of begrudging giver (ask for moving help, complain the whole time | give to someone in need, constantly bringing it up after-the-fact)

When we see this in ourselves, REPENT!

And instead…

C. Be a cheerful giver

2 Corinthians 9:7c – …God loves a cheerful giver.

Again, we look to Garland for commentary:

“In the Old Testament, giving reluctantly or under compulsion is portrayed as cancelling out any benefit that could be received from the gift while giving with a glad heart promises reward from God: “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Deut 15:10). Scripture assumes that what is crucial is the attitude of the one who gives, not the amount. God, who knows and appraises our hearts, values only those gifts that come as a free expression of the deepest part of our souls.” – David E. Garland, NAC: 2 Corinthians, 406.

If it’s truly better to give than to receive (as Jesus said), then joy is the natural byproduct of giving

Make a predetermined commitment to live generously, repenting of all forms of begrudgery or compulsion in your giving, but ensure you’re motivated by joy in your generosity…

IV. Look to the Source and Example of Giving (9:8)

Earlier, I’d mentioned that Christ is both the model and agent of our generosity

In other words, we know what giving is because of His gift of Himself, and we’re able to display generosity by His Spirit at work in us

The final verse in our passage drives these points home…

2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

We can trust Him to provide for us as we…

A. Draw from the source of all giving through His abounding grace

We are only able to be generous with others because God has been generous with us

And the specific attribute that’s listed in verse 8 is the abundance of grace that God’s lavished upon us

Men and women who have the spiritual gift of giving seem to inexplicably abound in grace

Conversely, those who struggle with giving can lack in dispensing grace to others

Which goes to show – you can only draw water from a well that’s filled…

In other words, those who are overwhelmed by the grace that Christ imparted to us – especially on the cross – will have and over-abundance of grace to share will others

For those who are underwhelmed or unaffected by God’s grace, gracelessness will be their obvious byproduct

And Christ’s generosity is, of itself, a well that will never run dry – our passage literally says, “so that ALWAYS having ALL SUFFICIENCY in EVERYTHING, you may have an ABUNDANCE for EVERY good deed…”

What could possibly fall outside of that??

Let my put it to a litmus test: if you’re not generous with the various seeds the Lord has given you, it can mean one of two things:

1) though a Christian, you’re not drawing from the deep well of God’s grace on your life, or

2) you’re not a Christian and have nothing to draw with or from

The solution to either is the same – embrace the ALL SUFFICIENT and EVER ABUNDANT grace of Christ

And as our final portion highlights…

B. Model the ultimate example of giving

This all-sufficient grace is provided by God…

2 Corinthians 9:8b – [so that] you may have an abundance for every good deed;

There’s action required

Jesus, for His part, didn’t simply will our salvation – He accomplished it

Not only does He call us to walk in a manner pleasing to God, He exemplified perfect obedience to the Father during His earthly ministry

And as the 1 John 3 passage pointed out, it’s not enough for us to have the gift of giving—we must engage in giving with those around us

What’s there to gain in giving?

Jesus put it well, after sowing the seed of the gospel within the heart of an obscure Samaritan woman at a well:

John 3:35-36 – Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together.

What will you do with the seeds entrusted to you?


Rod Hutton


Pastor of Faith North Ministries - Faith Church

Director - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries

Executive Director - Vision of Hope

Chair of the Northend Properties Board - Northend Ministries

Certified Biblical Counselor - Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries


B. Mathematics – University of Minnesota
M.A. – National Security Affairs – Naval Post Graduate School
M. Div. – Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Rod Hutton and his wife Kathy have been married for 34 years. They have five children, Chris, Tim, Malia, Grace and Josie. The Hutton’s came to Lafayette on assignment with the Navy to Purdue University which afforded the opportunity to attend Faith Bible Seminary. In 2018, Rod retired from Naval Service and joined the staff to lead the efforts in opening and operating the Northend Community Center and in 2019 he was ordained as a pastor with Faith Church. In 2024, he transitioned to the role as Director, Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.