Principles of Giving
(2 Corinithians 9:6-13)
Paul's word sound like a proverb; however,
nothing resembling this saying can be found in the book of Proverbs. His observation is quite
apparent: a farmer who plants a small plot is not as likely to enjoy as large a harvest as the
the farmer who plants a large plot. Likewise , If one skimps on seeds in order to save money,
he is not likely to enjoy the abundant harvest of one who plants the necessary amount of seeds.
We should not understand Paul to mean that one should give much in order to get
get much in return. More important than the amount one gives is his motive in giving. Jesus commended
the poor widow, who gave her two mites ("all the living that she had"), rather than the rich who
gave "of their abundance" (Luke 21:1-4)
When one is cajoled or pressured into
giving, his gift is likely to be given grudgingly. No doubt Paul would have serious reservations
about some of the fund-raising tactics used today by churches and Christian organizations.
One who gives
as he purposeth in this heart is more likely to give generously
and certainly more cheerfully than one who has been pressured or manipulated into giving.
Giving from the heart, however, does not mean that
giving should be based entirely on emotions. Good Christian stewardhip requires that we give
intelligently as well as emotionally. In fact, long-lasting joy is more likey to result from
intelligent giving than from giving that is the product of spur-of-the-moment emotions.
Trusting God's Promises
Some argue that if we give generously, God will reward us generously.
This may seem to be true in some cases. When we are seriously committed to Christ and give generously to His
church, we are likely to be better off financially, in part because we no longer need or want many of the
expensive "toys" that have become status symbols in our culture. God provides all sufficiency in order that
we may abound to every good work. In other words, He blesses us that we may use those blessings to help others, not to better ourselves.
Rules for Giving
The Old Testament set some
specific standards, both by example and be law, for giving. Abram, returning
from a victory over a coaltion of invading kings, gave Melchizedek, a "priest of the most high God,"
a tithe (a tenth) of the goods he had recovered (Genesis 14:17-20).
After his dream at Luz (Bethel), Jacob promised to return to God a tenth of all that
God gave him (Genesis 28:19-22).
According to the law of Moses,
each Isrealite was required to give a tenth of his crops, herds, and flocks to the Lord
(Leviticus 27:30-32). This tithe went to support the Levites who cared
for the tabernacle and helped conduct worship services (Numbers 18:24).
The Levites, in turn, gave a tenth of what they received to support the
priests (Numbers 18:25-32). In addtion, other tithes were required under the law.
However, under the New Covenant
no such specific requirements are set. Out motives for giving are to be guided, not by law,
but by grace. We are not our own; we have been "bought with a price"
(I Corinthians 6:20)-the death of God's Son on the cross. Thus we are slaves, our lives,
our talents, and all our possessions belong to God. We are required to be good
stewards of all that God has entrusted to us, using everything carefully and
wisely for His glory. One who gives
only a tithe of his income and feels generous does
not understand the New Testament concept of stewardship.
Purposes for Giving
Christians must give
, but they must give intelligently.
It is important that we know why we are giving.
Jesus left his heavenly home,
humbled Himselfself by taking on the form of a human being, and died on the cross for our sins.
What have we done for Christ?
Not only do we give because of what
what Christ has given us, but we also give
because there are real needs in the world.
Many of us reside in comfortable suburban areas where our lives are rearly touched by many
of these needs. We have been content to all government to address them. However,
Christians cand and should make a real difference in reaching the lives of those in need.
Jesus set the standard for what God expects of us in Matthew 25:40: "Inasmuchas ye have done it
unto one of the least of these my bretren, ye have done it unto me."
give for another important reason.
How we give
will determine in a large measure how the world receives the gospel we offer them.
If we are selfish toward others and stingy in our giving, we are not likely to convince many in the
unbelieving world that we serve a loving and generous God. Someone who serves Christ selflessly
in the squalor of an inner city slum is likely to have a far greater impact on the world
than all the pronouncements we make on our solemn assemblies.
One other important reason for giving
is that it will bring happiness and personal satisfaction to us. To feed a hungry person, to
clothe and house an orpahn, to visit one who is sick or lonely, to
counsel one sho is in the depths of despair- these are the actions that
Jesus equated with caring for Him (Matthew 25:34-40). And as He said in another
context,"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).
Prayer of Faith
O gracious Father, we thank You for the generous
blessings You have poured out upon us. Help us, we pray, to use these blessings, not for our own
selfish desires, but wisely for others and for Your kingdom. In Jesuss name we pray. Amen.
Thought to Remember
"It is more blessed to give
than to receive" (Acts 20:35)