Summary: A challenge to give generously to the Lord.
The apostle Peter writes, But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day” (2 Peter 3:8 NRSV). An economist who read this verse was quite amazed and talked to God about it. “Lord, is it true that a thousand years for us is like one minute to you?” The Lord said, “Yes.” The economist said, “Then a million dollars to us must be like one penny to you.” Again the Lord said, “Yes.” The economist thought for a moment and then asked, “Will you give me one of those pennies?” And the Lord replied, “Yes, I will…in a minute.”
1. God has commanded you to give generously.
Now about the collection for God’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of the week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made (1 Cor. 16:1-2; see also vv. 3-4).
Paul was collecting money from churches to help needy believers in Jerusalem who were suffering because of a famine (see Acts 11:28).
a. Giving is to be regular—on the first day of the week.
The point is that giving must occur regularly, not just when one feels generous, particularly led to do so, or instructed to do so for some special purpose.
b. Giving is to be personal—each one of you.
Giving is the responsibility of every believer.
c. Giving is to be proportional—set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.
What is proportional giving? It means the more that God blesses you, the more you should give.
Many Christians practice tithing (i.e. giving ten percent of their income to the Lord’s work). However, statistics tell us that the average church member gives about 2 or 3 percent of his/her income to the church.
For some wealthy Christians, tithing is an excuse not to give generously.
“No required amount or percentage for giving to the Lord’s work is specified in the NT. All giving to the Lord is to be free will giving and completely discretionary. This is not to be confused with the OT required of giving of 3 tithes (see Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21-26; Deut. 14:28-29; Mal. 3:8-10) which totaled about 23 percent annually to fund the national government of Israel, take care of public festivals, and provide welfare. Modern parallels to the OT tithe are found in the taxation system of countries (Rom. 13:6). OT giving to God was not regulated as to amount (see Ex. 25:1-2; 35:21; 36:6; Prov. 3:9-10; 11:24).”—John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1758
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me” (Mal. 3:8-9).
Though we are not commanded in the NT to give a certain percentage of our income, I believe that if you are not giving generously to the Lord, you are robbing Him. Tithing is probably a good starting point.
2. God has promised to bless you if you give generously.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:6-7).
Paul uses a law of nature: If you plant only a few seeds, you will reap a small harvest; if you plant many seeds, you will reap a large harvest (if conditions are ideal, or course).
God wants us to give generously and cheerfully, not reluctantly or because we feel pressured
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 (2 Cor. 9:8).
Here grace does not refer to spiritual graces, but to money and material needs. When you generously gives of your material resources, God will graciously replenish them so you always will have plenty and will not be in need. My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
God gives back lavishly to generous, cheerful givers, not so they may satisfy selfish, nonessential desires, but so they may meet the variety of needs others have (cf. Deut. 15:10-11).
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. 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 (2 Cor. 9:10-11).