Posts Tagged ‘giving’

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 9:1-9 There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. 2For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you in Achaia were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. But I am sending the brothers in order that our boasting about you in this matter should not prove hollow, but that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4For if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to say anything about you—would be ashamed of having been so confident. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given. Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

By describing how their own “enthusiasm” had incited the Macedonians to give, Paul was, in effect, prodding the Corinthians to rekindle their initial enthusiasm for giving. Paul wasn’t naive about human behavior. The start and end of a marathon are much more thrilling than the miles in between. It takes stubborn determination to keep going. Paul also knew that it took a community to persevere. Just as teammates will cheer their runner on in a race, so Paul was sending Titus and two other believers to the Corinthians to cheer them on.

Paul reminded the Corinthians to fulfill the commitment that they had already made (see also 8:10-12). They had said that they would collect a financial gift to send to the church in Jerusalem. Paul was sending a few men ahead of him to make sure their gift was ready, so it would be a real gift and not look like people had to give under pressure at the last minute (“ready as a generous gift, not as one grudgingly given”). He was holding them accountable to keep their promise, so that neither Paul nor the Corinthians would be embarrassed.

People may hesitate to give generously to God because they worry about having enough money left over to meet their own needs. Paul assured the Corinthians that God was able to meet their needs. The person who gives only a little will receive only a little in return. Don’t let a lack of faith keep you from giving cheerfully and generously.

A giving attitude is more important than the amount given. The person who can give only a small gift shouldn’t be embarrassed. God is concerned about how a person gives from his or her resources (see Mark 12:41-44). According to that standard, the giving of the Macedonian churches would be difficult to match (8:3). God himself is a cheerful giver. Consider all he has done for us. He is pleased when we who are created in his image give generously and joyfully. Do you have a difficult time letting go of your money? It may reflect ungratefulness to God.
Lets Bring it Home: Do you have a difficult time letting go of your money? It may reflect ungratefulness to God. Also, don’t let a lack of faith keep you from giving cheerfully and generously.

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 8:9-15 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”


The Christians in the Corinthian church had money, and apparently they had planned to collect money for the Jerusalem church “last year” (see also 9:2). Paul challenges them to act on their plans. Four principles of giving emerge here: (1) Your willingness to give enthusiastically and cheerfully is more important than the amount you give; (2) you should strive to fulfill your financial commitments; (3) if you give to others in need, they will, in turn, help you when you are in need; (4) you should give as a response to Christ, not for anything you can get out of it. How you give reflects your devotion to Christ.

How do you decide how much to give? What about differences in the financial resources Christians have? Paul gives the Corinthian church several principles to follow: (1) Each person should follow through on previous promises (8:10-11; 9:3); (2) each person should give as much as he or she is able (8:12; 9:6); (3) each person must make up his or her own mind how much to give (9:7); and (4) each person should give in proportion to what God has given him or her (9:10). God gives to us so that we can give to others.

Paul says that we should give of what we have, not what we don’t have. Sacrificial giving must be responsible. Paul wants believers to give generously, but not to the extent that those who depend on the givers (their families, for example) must go without having their basic needs met.
Lets Bring it Home: Give until it hurts, but don’t give so that it hurts your family and/or relatives who need your financial support.


Under Gods Command (Giving to the Needy)

    Mathews 6:2-4 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

The term hypocrites, as used here, describes people who do good acts for appearances only—not out of compassion or other good motives. Their actions may be good, but their motives are hollow. These empty acts are their only reward, but God will reward those who are sincere in their faith.

When Jesus says not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, he is teaching that our motives for giving to God and to others must be pure. It is easy to give with mixed motives, to do something for someone if it will benefit us in return. But believers should avoid all scheming and give for the pleasure of giving and as a response to God’s love. Why do you give?

It’s easier to do what’s right when we gain recognition and praise. To be sure our motives are not selfish, we should do our good deeds quietly or in secret, with no thought of reward. Jesus says we should check our motives in three areas: generosity (6:4), prayer (6:6), and fasting (6:18). Those acts should not be self-centered but God-centered, done not to make us look good but to make God look good. The reward God promises is not material, and it is never given to those who seek it. Doing something only for ourselves is not a loving sacrifice.

Lets Bring it Home: Lets ask ourselves this question, why do we give? With your next good deed, ask, would I still do this if no one would ever know I did it?


Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 8:7-8 But just as you excel in everything thing in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.    I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

The Corinthian believers excelled in everything—they had faith, good preaching (“speech”), much knowledge, much enthusiasm (“earnestness”), much love.. Paul encouraged them to also excel in the grace of giving. Too often, stewardship of money is given a different status than other aspects of discipleship. Most believers would not want growth in faith, knowledge, or love to stop at a certain level. Yet many decide a fixed percentage of their money to give and stay there for life. True discipleship includes growing in the mature use of all resources, so giving should expand as well. God can give you the desire and enable you to increase your capacity to give. Don’t miss this opportunity for growth.

Lets Bring it Home: God can give you the desire and enable you to increase your capacity to give. Don’t miss this opportunity for growth.

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Maceoniana churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.

During his third missionary journey, Paul had collected money for the impoverished believers in Jerusalem. The churches in Macedonia—Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea—had given money even though they were poor, and they had sacrificially given more than Paul expected. Although they were poor themselves, they wanted to help. The amount we give is not as important as why and how we give. God does not want us to give gifts grudgingly. Instead, he wants us to give as these churches did—out of dedication to Christ, love for fellow believers, the joy of helping those in need, as well as the fact that it was simply the good and right thing to do.

The kingdom of God spreads through believers’ concern and eagerness to help others. Here we see several churches joining to help others beyond their own circle of friends and their own city.

Lets Bring it Home: How well does your giving measure up to the standards set by the Macedonian churches? Explore ways that you might link up with a ministry outside your city, either through your church or through a Christian organization. By joining with other believers to do God’s work, you increase Christian unity and help the kingdom grow.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 11:24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 

No business school in America is advanced enough to teach this law of economics. Not Harvard. Not Stanford. Not the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. This proverb is a financial secret from the God of heaven for His people. Giving away financial assets will increase your net worth, while holding back money leads to poverty.

If you want a wealth-building secret from God and King Solomon, here it is. Throwing money to noble and righteous causes will bring financial prosperity, but restraining your giving will take you down. Here is advice, not to invest money, but to give it away. That is right; you read it correctly; give your money away to get ahead financially.

This proverb is not a sound bite for a desperate charity or greedy televangelist. It is an axiom of wisdom from the wisest and richest King that ever lived. He taught elsewhere to cast your bread upon the waters by giving it away, for it will come back to you sometime in the future by God’s blessings (Eccl 11:1-6; II Cor 9:8-11; Phil 4:17-19).

Solomon compared two men in this proverb. The one man scatters his money by giving it to godly causes, and he increases in financial prosperity. Though he is giving money away, his accounts keep growing. The other man hoards and protects his assets by not giving when he should or as much as he should, and he gets poorer and poorer.

Fools scorn God’s wisdom. The nation’s best MBA’s laugh at such preposterous ideas. How can you give away funds and increase assets? Their minds are limited to the math taught by their earthly teachers. Remember, these ignorant MBA’s also think the solar system is from a big bang of cosmic gases and their mothers were baboons! They cannot even imagine there is a whole universe of higher laws they know nothing about!

They think 10 – 1 = 9, when 10 – 1 = 900! Learn God’s math! Isaac, from a family that gave away a tenth by divine tradition, had an annual return of 10,000% on his portfolio (Gen 26:12). When did these educated fools with thick economic textbooks ever get an annual return like that? They work crazily to match the S&P500, which can be obtained by throwing darts at the financial page of the newspaper or buying an index fund.

Abraham, Isaac’s father, gave away a tenth of everything to God’s priest after a great victory (Gen 14:20). He was very rich, in spite of moving six hundred miles from home, without a strategic plan, to a strange land, where he did not know anyone or anything (Gen 13:2,6). But he increased by the blessing of God for honoring God with a tithe.

Jacob, Isaac’s son, moved to a new country with only a staff in his hand, but in 20 years he was so rich he could only travel in two companies (Gen 32:10). And this occurred in spite of discrimination against him by his employer (Gen 31:7,41). What was his secret for financial success? Give away 10% of all income (Gen 28:22). Give God the glory!

Fools think they have to look out for number one, meaning themselves, and only give to God a little of what is left. If nothing is left, then God gets nothing. Wise men also look out for number one, meaning God Himself. They give to God first, and live on whatever is left. The blessed God of heaven sees the different spirit and rewards them accordingly.

Fools reason, “I cannot afford to give. I have to protect my financial situation. I have bills coming up that I need to save for. When I am in a better financial situation, then I will give.” The God of heaven operates far above these ignorant and wicked ideas of financial safety. These men will surely be poor. They will never improve financially by violating this proverb. Just a little survey will show such men are often the poorest you know.

You cannot afford not to give! Your situation will go from bad to worse, if you continue to rob your Creator (Mal 3:8-11; Gal 6:7). It is better to live on 90% of income in the will of God than to miserly steal His 10% and live in rebellion. If you steal His 10%, He has the right and power to take His 10% and your 90%. You cannot afford not to give!

You can afford to give. If your salary were cut 10%, you would keep living with just a few changes. Some governments will split your giving with you by allowing you a tax deduction for it. It only costs the average American 6% to give 10%. You steal and lie, when you say you cannot afford to give. Humble yourself; choose wisdom, and increase.

A tithe is not the limit, for New Testament blessings surely deserve more than the beggarly 10% of the Old. Your spiritual and material blessings are greater than Israel ever dreamed. God has given you 100% of what you are and have, and heaven is waiting. Is 10% all you can muster? [When you look closer, the O.T. actually required 23 1/3%.]

Fools also reason, “Other men give because they have more to give. Their giving did not bring financial success, but they give because they are financially successful.” You are lying to yourself to protect your selfish and stingy soul. You are rejecting the infallible word of God to honor your greedy ignorance. You will never be a success. Going down?

Israel once thought it was financially wise to build their own houses first, but God blew against their efforts and put holes in the bags where they kept their wages (Hag 1:1-11). He guaranteed them great success, if they would put His cause first and mark their calendars (Hag 2:13-19). Do you have holes in your bags, reader? You cannot mock God; He will take you to poverty. Does God truly bless giving? Indeed He does (Pr 3:9-10)

How can the Lord increase a man who gives his money away? He can raise his income, lower his expenses, change tax laws, arrange gifts, grant favors, defer liabilities, extend the life of assets, preserve health and strength, open doors of opportunity, multiply efforts, provide bargains, give wisdom, attract customers, and many other things. Glory!

How far does this rule go? God dares you to try to outgive Him! He told Israel He would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing they could not receive, if they would simply bring their tithes and offerings to Him (Mal 3:7-12). Give God the glory! He can give a good measure, press it down, shake it together, and pour it over the top (Luke 6:38). He dares you, reader. The God of heaven dares you to try to outgive Him.

There are two conditions for God’s rich blessings on giving – you must give generously, and you must give cheerfully (Pr 11:25; II Cor 9:6-7). If you are stingy, God will be stingy to you. If you are generous and liberal, He will be the same in dealings with you (Is 32:8). If you are not cheerful and excited about giving, it is all a waste – for God loves cheerful givers. Giving is an act of worship, and you should do it with joy (Deut 28:47).

If you are a child of God living in America, you have the greatest combination of blessings ever known by any persons in this world. And it is certainly not because Americans are better people. It is God’s pure mercy. How can you not be the most liberal giver of all time? You are in great debt to your Creator and Saviour for more than others.

R.G. LeTourneau (1888-1969), a Christian man with little education, was one of America’s greatest inventors with 300 patents in earthmoving and other heavy equipment. He and his plants produced 70% of the heavy earthmoving machines used by the Allies during World War II. His rule for success? He gave 90% of all income back to the Lord. His favorite verse? Matthew 6:33! His philosophy and experience about giving? “I shovel out the money, and God shovels it back to me – but God has a bigger shovel.”

If you meet a poor person in true need and give to him, the Lord of heaven will repay you (Pr 19:17; Deut 15:10-11; Ps 41:1-2).  But if you keep your money and assets to protect your financial situation, the Lord of heaven will curse you with many curses (Pr 28:27). The contrast here is rather severe, but are you wise enough to believe it and obey it?

Giving to the man of God, who teaches you the word of God, is not just a religious tradition or convenient suggestion; it is the ordinance of God (I Cor 9:1-14; Gal 6:6; I Tim 5:17). It ought to be a high pleasure to reward your servant and to please God. Since he is God’s ambassador, your treatment of him is a direct reflection of your love of God.

If you have family members in need, you have denied the Christian religion, if you do not support them financially (I Tim 5:4,8). If you are a grandparent or parent with children, you should be giving them an inheritance (Prov 13:22; II Cor 12:14). Are you holding back for yourself like the Pharisees in Jesus’ day (Mark 7:9-13)? You are going down!

Have you wished you could walk on water with Peter? Here is your opportunity. Peter had to step over the gunwale of his boat and down on the water by faith, and you get to scatter your money by faith. Go for it! Do not look at the waves. The promise of this proverb and the other verses included here are just as the Lord saying to Peter, “Come.”

Do you believe the Bible? Then do what the Bible says! Give away part of what you have. Do it. Show God and men your faith. Test the proverb. See if you increase. Let God be true, but every man a liar. The proverb is true. This rule of success is from heaven, and it has never failed. If this proverb is not really true, then the others are not true either.

The benefits of a golden parachute from heaven keep coming. Generous and cheerful giving provides a good foundation for your soul in the Day of Judgment (I Tim 6:17-19; Matt 10:42; 25:40; Luke 4:14; Heb 6:10). This is an incredible further benefit for giving that most Christians do not understand. What more do you need, reader, to learn to give?

Giving reflects God’s grace in your heart and draws you closer to Him. But no matter how far you progress in the grace of giving, Jesus Christ remains the unmatchable Giver. It was He who left the wealth of heaven to make the supreme sacrifice to deliver you from eternal poverty and grant you eternal riches (John 3:16; Rom 6:23; II Cor 8:9; 9:15).