Summary: How does God want me to grow in my giving to support His work?
God’s plan is for you to give your tithe to the support of His work through your local church. But we need to understand that giving a tithe is only the beginning. God’s plan is for us to grow in our giving.
In Malachi 3:8, we are exhorted to give both "tithes" and "offerings." God wants us to give beyond our tithe to other special needs through our local church. Needs such as our building fund and World Missions. And in the process of growing our giving, God wants to grow us! God plan is for your giving to grow and for you to grow through giving.
In verse 6, we read that if we give generously to the support of God’s work, we will always receive more in return. If we sow generously, we are told we will reap generously. And what is the nature of the harvest we will reap? Verse 10 tells us that it is a "harvest of righteousness." As our giving grows, we will grow through our giving. Why? Because as we grow in giving, we will grow in our appreciation of . . .
1. The Love of God - v. 7
When we grow in giving, we will grow in our appreciation of the love of God. Why? Because the nature of God’s love for us was expressed through giving.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16 (NLT)
The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to, at the end of the worship service, ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building. Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.
"Here’s a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But you’ll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances."
During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected, and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up."
At that moment, the substitute organist played "The Star-Spangled Banner."
And that is how the substitute became the regular.
Occasionally, need something to motivate them to take action. Friends, we should need no more motivation than the cross! In response to the cry of sinful mankind, God demonstrated His love by deciding to give of Himself unhesitatingly, willingly, and enthusiastically. Likewise, we grow to appreciate the love of God as we, in response to the call of a holy God, decide to give of ourselves unhesitatingly, willingly, and enthusiastically. As we decide to give to God this way, we grow in our appreciation of His love.
"The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him.]" - John 14:21 (Amplified)
2. The Grace of God - vs. 8-9
Notice how Paul emphasizes the sufficiency of the grace of God - "ALL grace," "ALL things," "ALL times," "ALL that you need." Paul makes it clear that as we respond to God’s call to give in support of His work through our church, we will not lack anything we need.
"Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)
This same Apostle who testified that God’s grace was sufficient to sustain him in times of trial and sickness, testifies here that God’s grace is sufficient to supply our needs, even though in giving to God’s work, we will actually have to live on less!
"You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus."
- Philippians 4:19 (The Message)
A car salesman was asked by a customer what the horsepower of the engine of a particular car was. The salesman said he did not know, but would check with his manager. After conferring with his manager for only a brief time, he returned to tell the power-conscious customer that the horsepower was "sufficient."
That is what Paul tells us here. God’s grace is adequate to meet our need. He tells us that we can give and still have enough left to live on, because God is able (v. 8)! Which means that as we experience God’s sufficiency, we grow in our appreciation of His grace.