Summary: This is a message from the author’s book, "Christian Stewardship"
INTRODUCTION: There is no giving that is so glorious as Godly giving. This section will show how such giving takes place when Paul reminds the church at Corinth that they had made a commitment nearly a year earlier, and had not followed though with it. In a very tactful, but also in a very firm way he is letting them know that much is at stake if they failed to be responsible to their word. It would affect the reputation of the church, of Paul, and of Christ.
Paul tells the church that he has three men coming to collect the gift, and then in effect tells them that there is no giving like Godly giving. Godly giving is glorious giving. In this study we will show, from our text, three things that characterizes the glorious giver.
I. THE GLORIOUS GIVER IS SENSITIVE TO THE NEED. (Vv. 1-5).
Paul wants to do right, and he wants the church at Corinth to do right. Paul is not questioning their willingness to do right; he just wants to make sure that they do not procrastinate doing what they had promised. The church at Jerusalem had needs and needed their needs met in a timely manner. Christians, having good character ought to be punctual in keeping their appointments and their promises, and this is what Paul is telling the church at Corinth.
A. He Is Sensitive With Purpose. (V.1).
"ministering to the saints"
The purpose that Paul had was to help the Church of Jerusalem. He was very sensitive to their needs, even though the church at Jerusalem could have been undeserving the entire concept of Grace giving allows one to give whether it is deserved or not.
1 John 3:17 SAYS, "But whoso hath this world?s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
This passage is an indictment against having a hard heart against a brother who is in need. When a brother is in need, those who are blessed in having the goods of this world should be sensitive to that need. This principle deals with the importance of being sensitive to the needs of others. Keep in mind that it is a principle, and that there are other principles in the word of God to be considered when helping others. When it is obvious that someone is under the chastening hand of God, it is inappropriate to offset what God is doing by helping undo what God might be doing. Being sensitive means that you are first sensitive to God.
B. He Is Sensitive Without Procrastination. (V.4).
"ye may be ready"
Paul wanted the church at Corinth to have more than good intentions. Someone said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Serving God should have the same urgency as the clause, "Today is the day of salvation". The devil’s today is tomorrow. We have a wonderful opportunity to serve God today, with no promise of tomorrow. As we support our missionaries, and as we conduct our local ministries, we need to do it now; and keep on doing it until the Lord comes, or until it is our time to go.
So many think that any thing that they do for the Lord will only be rewarded in heaven, and that there are no earthly enjoyed benefits. John Calvin knew different:
"This harvest should be understood both in terms of the spiritual reward of eternal life and also referring to the earthly blessings with which God honours the beneficent. Not only in heaven does God reward the well- doing of the godly, but in this world as well."
C. He Is Sensitive By Being Prepared. (V.4-5).
" that the same might be ready"
In the case of what Paul is referring to in our text, he is exhorting the church to be ready for those collecting the money, and the gifts. He told them that if they were not prepared, that there would be a reason for their being ashamed for boasting of being ready when they actually were not.
Likewise, in regards to our mission giving, would it not be sad and shameful to tell our missionaries that we no longer can take care of them, because we have not properly prepared ourselves to be a blessing to them. Would it not be a poor testimony to the good name of this church to start dropping our missionaries? Thank God, we do not have to do this. Having studies like this, which prepare our hearts to give, is simply applying what Paul was referring to in this passage of Scripture.
II. THE GLORIOUS GIVER WILL SOW TO THE NEED. (Vv. 6-9).
When a farmer releases from his hand the precious seed, he does so with great anticipation of a bumper crop. For every one seed, which he drops, he expects much more in return. He understands in his humble way the law of sowing and reaping. This is a universal law that is necessary for healthy survival. In church giving, you do not need to fear releasing that which God has blessed you to hold. He will never bless the squeezed hand as he does the open hand. Bible Baptist Church has for fifty years been an open-handed church. May it continue to be so?