Summary: We Christians want to please God in all things. Even in the act of giving, we want to please Him. The Apostle to the Gentiles provides instruction designed to ensure that we please Him in this act of worship.

“In this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, ‘Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.’” [1]

Any Christian wants to please the Heavenly Father. Our desire to please the Father flows from filial devotion. God is our Father and as His children, we want always to do that which is pleasing to Him. We want to be wise administrators of all that He has entrusted to our care. Certainly, we are responsible to administer wisely the spiritual gifts He has entrusted to us. We are equally responsible to demonstrate wisdom in administering the earthly wealth He has entrusted to us. The wisdom we are to demonstrate in administering earthly goods begins with understanding that possessions are entrusted to us by God. This neither denies nor depreciates individual resourcefulness, personal integrity, intelligence or other positive character traits we associate with successful individuals. The Word of the Lord recorded by the Teacher in ECCLESIASTES 10:10 is yet true:

“If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,

he must use more strength,

but wisdom helps one to succeed.”

In saying that we are to recognise God as the ultimate source of possessions I mean to refocus attention on the foundational issue, the understanding that it is the Lord God who distributes gifts—whether intelligence, strength or whatever abilities contribute to individual success. “What do you have that you did not receive” [1 CORINTHIANS 4:7]? This is the thought provoking biblical summary statement.

Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthian congregation, spoke of wise administration of possessions, and in particular instructed his readers in wise giving—giving that pleases God. Join me in examination of the biblical instruction that we may embrace those characteristics that are pleasing to Him who gives freely to all who call upon Him.

ZEAL — “In this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.” Paul commends the Corinthians’ desire. They were eager to give and their eagerness is seen as a desirable trait. Lacklustre giving and grudging response to need in no way honours the Lord God. The congregation which will excel in the grace of giving is eager to give.

Zeal should mark every Christian endeavour. The ardent Christian is a comely Christian. Perhaps one of the darker blots on the churches of this day is that we Christians so long for acceptance by the world that we become casual and cool in the performance of our ministries. If the congregation expects that the preacher should blaze with fervour in the preaching of the Word, then does it not follow that the remainder of the assembly ought also to be zealous in every aspect of worship? The people of God should reveal the zeal of the Lord in all that they do. Even in the act of giving we should rejoice and eagerly come before the Lord with our gifts.

Have you ever noticed the worship of the Hebrews as described in the Old Testament? Listen to one call to worship recorded in the Psalms.

“Praise the LORD!

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens!

Praise him for his mighty deeds;

praise him according to his excellent greatness!

“Praise him with trumpet sound;

praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;

praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals;

praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD!”

[PSALM 150:1-6]

When Solomon dedicated the Temple of the Lord the nation united in worship. Listen to a description of that worship found in 2 CHRONICLES 5:4-6, 11-14. “All the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. And they brought up the ark, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up. And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered… When the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD,

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