Summary: When it comes to giving, what ought to be my attitude and how I can do this and realize the benefits of it.
GIVING: MONEY AND ME
2 Cor. 8:1-9
By Andrew Chan, PBC, Vancouver, BC
"A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing."
There are three conversions necessary: the conversion of the heart, the mind and the purse. Of these three, it may well be that we moderns find the conversion of the purse the most difficult.
A. GOD VALUES ME
We need to recognize as a society we are gripped by greed. Need to look after yourself, no one else will.
“For freedom Christ has set us free…”Gal.5:1 but are we?
We need to recognize we are valued by God much more than we give Him the credit.
Matt.6:24-34. Hear Jesus “are you not much more valuable than they (birds)?” and analogy of dressing up the lilies of the field by God “will he not much more clothe you?”
Challenge: Do we put God first or money? When put God first, serve Him first, we are cared for!! That’s Jesus’ own opinion.
B. HOW TO BE FREE IN CHRIST WITH MONEY
The Macedonian Model of Grace Giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-9)
Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia. 2 Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem. 5 Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever directions God might give them.
6 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to complete your share in this ministry of giving. 7 Since you excel in so many ways—you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us—now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving. 8 I am not saying you must do it, even though the other churches are eager to do it. This is one way to prove your love is real.
9 You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
a. Giving as grace received (v.1,2)
They gave because of the Good News
“God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia” and “their wonderful joy” in Christ
b. Giving generously (v.2)
They gave even when it is inconvenient.
“going through much trouble and hard times”
c. Giving involves free will (v.3)
They gave willingly (no gun to their heads) and much more
“they did it of their own free will”
So Paul urges this type of giving in 2 Cor.9:5-8 (NLT) for the believers in Corinth:
But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given under pressure. 6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
d. Giving means there’s no holding back (v.4)
They gave enthusiastically
“They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift”
e. Giving is God’s will (v.5)
They gave their best
“their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever directions God might give them.”
Biblical EXHORTATIONS for Giving (v.6-9)
1. Education: We need constant encouragement (v.6)
Giving trains me to be like Christ (a disciple of Christ)
Titus was there to start this giving a year ago but it got stalled and now sent again as added encouragement to be taught to give
2. Excellence: We need to excel in all areas of life (v.7)
Giving is part of what it means to be spiritual. Not to give shows immaturity.
3. Engagement: We need to engage ourselves in the grace of Christ’ generous act to be like Him (v.8-9)
Giving makes me more like Christ. This is where the sincerity of our love, our engagement in Him is tested!