Summary: Discover five principles about giving in this sermon taken from II Corinthians 8 & 9.
Today is the climactic day of our capital funds campaign. Some people would say a capital funds campaign is drudgery. For me it has been an exciting time! It is exciting to observe what God is doing in our church. It is exciting as anticipate how God will provide for needs. In order for us to experience the exciting nature of this campaign we must approach it with a joyful attitude. God wants our relationship with him to be a happy joyful experience. He does not want it to be a difficult chore.
As we wrap up this campaign I want to do a simple sermon entitled “Guidelines for Givers.” Each of us is considering the amount we will pledge to the Forward With Faith campaign. In II Corinthians 8 & 9 we find a group of people who joyfully and obediently gave an offering in response to God’s calling. The churches in Asia were taking a collection for the struggling church at Jerusalem. From these believers we learn some valuable lessons about giving.
1. Giving should be done submissively.
Submission is one of those words that tend to rub people the wrong way. The word has received such a bad reputation that we rarely use it. There are some situations were the word submission is used as a club to beat others into submission. In yesterday’s paper there was a story of a fourteen year old girl who was forced to marry against her will. This unfortunate situation came at the hands of a cult leader who abused his authority.
What is submission? It is the willful act of yielding to the power, control or authority of another. Submission is a voluntary and necessary action in the Christian life. It is a critical part of learning to be a disciple. Submission is a key concept in the Bible. To be true followers of Jesus, we must learn to be submissive. In verse 5 we find two components of submission.
• It is necessary that we learn to be submissive to God. The Bible teaches that they “first gave themselves to God.”
• It is necessary that we learn to be submissive to those who represent God. In verse 5 it says “they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us.”
Corinth had every reason to be skeptical of this offering for Jerusalem. They were separated by hundreds of miles. Most of them had never been to Jerusalem. They had this new religious leader (Paul) soliciting money for the people in Jerusalem. They did not know whether they could trust him. However, they submitted to Paul’s request and gave the offering. As a teaching point: in II Cor. 8:16-24 Paul discusses the integrity and character of Titus. Titus was responsible for the offering which Paul was collecting. Do you see the big picture? Paul was collecting an offering built around trust. In so doing, he selected a trustworthy man to handle the special offering and to deliver it to the believers in Jerusalem. This is a good model for any church. Solicitations for money should be accompanied by accountability and integrity in the one’s doing the soliciting.
2. Giving should be done willingly. Notice several verses found in II Cor. 8 & 9. In 8:3 it says they were “freely willing.” In 9:2 it says “I know your willingness.” The telling part of this passage is found in 8:4. From that verse we learn that these believers actually begged to give.
The opposite of willing giving is:
• Giving begrudgingly
• Giving out of guilt
• Giving out of fear
• Giving from manipulation
• Giving as a ritual
Illustration: The story is told of the missionary who asked a new convert, “Pablo, if you had a hundred sheep, would you give fifty of them to the Lord’s work?”
“You know I would gladly give them,” he replied.
“Pablo, if you had fifty cows, would you give twenty-five to the Lord’s work?”
“Of course, I would be more than happy to do that,” came the confident reply.
Once again the missionary asked, “Pablo, if you had two pigs, would you give one of them to the Lord’s work?”
“That’s not fair!” Pablo said, “You know I have two pigs.” Pablo was no longer willing.
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Susan Blader)
Illustration: Show cartoon clip (on power point) of a man named Charles being baptized. The pastor says “Charles, everything that goes under the water belongs to God.” As the pastor baptizes Charles you see a hand extending out of the water with a clinched fist holding a billfold. Charles was not willing.
3. Giving should be done cheerfully. There are two word plays found in II Cor. 8 & 9. In chapter 8 verse 2 it says “their joy…abounded.” He describes their joy as if it is a glass of water that is overflowing. Then in chapter 9 verse 7 it says “God loves a cheerful giver.” The word cheerful is the word from which we get our word “hilarious.” Thus, that verse could be translated “God loves a hilarious give.”