Summary: Our giving should be joyful and uncoerced, and we should be thankful for the opportunity to give
The Giver God Loves
Dr. Russell K. Tardo
Scripture Reference: 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.
The subject of giving is one that I don't often address. Unfortunately, the subject of giving is so frequently and widely taught these days that many Christians have grown weary at the prospect of hearing another message on giving. Just as the subject of giving has been overly emphasized by some, it is also possible to go to the opposite extreme by neglecting the subject altogether. A balance should be maintained in every sense but giving is a very important subject. It is especially important during times of economic difficulty when people feel it would be foolish and even extravagant to be generous. However, giving is quite relevant and as Christians, it is our responsibility as stewards of God's resources.
- Sowing and Reaping -
6But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
We believe in an inspired Bible and we know that Paul spoke by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In this passage, Paul says that God loves a cheerful giver, not a begrudging, grasping or reluctant giver. He's talking here about a happy giver who considers it an honor and privilege to give.
This congregation knows that we don't make giving a major focus of attention. While we do pass the offering plate, no one gives a 20-minute preliminary lecture on giving before the plate is passed. No one stands over the plate to see how much each person puts in the plate. As pastor, I don't know how much each individual contributes; thankfully, I have someone who takes care of that phase of the church ministry. Therefore I am not influenced by the size of any person's contributions or lack of contributions. I leave all the conditions surrounding each person's giving to that individual and the Holy Spirit. While I disassociate myself from the giving practices of membership there is one that does know and He's the one to whom we all answer. Is that New Testament or is it not?
Looking again at verse 6, what does the word sparingly mean? The word means frugally, to sow little. God is the one who anointed Paul to use the illustration of a farmer who is sowing his field. The picture here is that of one who sows sparingly, having only a few grains of seed in hand. He takes each seed individually and then cautiously decides just where he is going to put that one seed. This farmer is sowing sparingly which means a little, not much. Consequently, his harvest will reflect that he sowed sparingly. On the other hand, the one who sows bountifully which means with a full hand is scattering seed by generous handfuls. In proportion to his dispersion of seed, this farmer will reap a bountiful harvest.
- What is your motive for giving? -
On the one hand, we have the man who is reluctant to give and gives only begrudgingly fearful that if he doesn't someone will take note. Givers are not to give regretfully harboring wrong thoughts and motives. God doesn't want us to be that kind of giver. There's another phrase used in that verse, i.e., of necessity which means because we have to. The Christian is not to give because he has to. In fact, just the opposite should be true. Each of us should give because we want to. We should give and consider it a privilege to give to God's kingdom and we should express that sentiment to the Lord.
The Bible says that we're not to give grudgingly or out of necessity. Giving is not a legal requirement. No one has to give anything, but the Bible says if we sow little, we reap little; if we sow bountifully, we reap bountifully. God loves the cheerful giver whose motive for giving is simply a grateful heart. God loves the one who considers it a joy to give and gives with a happy attitude and countenance. The gifts are designated for the work of the Lord, the propagation of the gospel and the sustenance of the church and ministry.
I've been pastoring since 1981 . . . a few years now and I've come to know some people who have very strange ideas about giving. Some are happiest when they don't give at all while others are happiest when they give generously. There is, of course, every type of person falling somewhere between those two extremes. There are Christians who believe they must tithe explicitly and to the penny. There are others who reason that since tithing is not law, they really don't have to give at all. There are folks who are quite stingy in their giving while others give freely. There are yet others who give on impulse and whim with the notion that they give only when moved by the Spirit which I've come to discover is quite infrequently. There are also those who give regularly, consistently and generously. It's impossible to categorize givers for there are some who are quite poor who give generously while others who have plenty give virtually nothing.