Summary: Righteous giving is motivated by 1) God’s grace (2 Cor. 8:1), It 2) Transcends difficult Circumstances (2 Cor. 8:2a), 3) Is with joy (2 Cor. 8:2b), It’s 4) Not hindered by poverty (2 Cor. 8:2c), and is 5) Generous (2 Cor. 8:2d)
In Ottawa tomorrow, the Federal government is expected to release its budget. Implicit in any budgetary expenditures, is the consideration of whose money is being spent. Without a surplus, which is the money set aside from previous taxation, the Federal government relies on current taxation, which is the money from present taxpayers. If they decide to spend money they do not have, they are spending money of future taxpayers. How generous they are in their spending is a barometer of how healthy they expect the economy to perform to cover their expenditures, and how much of taxpayers money they think they can spend without too much uproar.
How people view money is an effective barometer of their spiritual health. Money is neither good nor bad in itself; corrupt people can put it to evil uses, while godly people can put it to righteous uses. Though it is morally neutral, what people do with their money reflects their internal morality. In the words of Jesus, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34).
The early church gave to meet the needs of the poor. Most of its members were from the lower classes (cf. 1 Cor. 1:26), and many were unable to meet their own financial needs. As Paul wrote 2 Corinthians:8-9, he did not write about the poor in the Corinthian assembly; the Corinthians were apparently faithful in caring for them. Nor was the apostle’s focus on giving to the poor in general. He was concerned specifically about the many needy saints in the Jerusalem church. From its birth on the Day of Pentecost, the Jerusalem church had had to cope with the extreme poverty of many of its members. There were three main reasons for that situation.
Please turn to Acts 2
First, the Jerusalem church consisted largely of pilgrims. Many, if not most, of the first converts were visiting Jerusalem to celebrate the Day of Pentecost, when the church was born. They were Hellenistic Jews, who lived in the Gentile lands to which the Jewish people had been scattered in the Diaspora.
Acts 2:9–11 describes them as
Acts 2:9-11 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians--we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God." (ESV)
"Keep your place in Acts 2"
On that Day of Pentecost, three thousand people were added to the church (Acts 2:41). Soon afterward, the number of men in the church reached five thousand (Acts 4:4), not counting the women. Since there were no churches or Christians anywhere else in the world, the converted pilgrims remained in Jerusalem. Only there could they sit under the apostles’ teaching and find fellowship with other believers. Most of them were not wealthy and could not afford to stay indefinitely in Jerusalem’s inns, nor would they wish to, given the condition of the typical inn. And many of those staying with Jewish relatives were alienated from family after becoming Christians and had to leave.