2 Corinthians 8; 2 Kings 20-21; Nahum 2
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you, through his poverty, might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, Paul taught about giving. He began by giving an example from the Macedonian churches as he noted that they gave in grace, in severe trials, in extreme poverty, they gave generously, they recognized giving was a privilege, and they gave themselves first to the Lord, and then gave to others. The second example was even more powerful: Jesus Christ. He had all the wealth of all of creation at His disposal, and yet He gave it all up to come to earth to die on the cross so that we, through His great sacrifice, might become rich. Given Paul’s theme in these two chapters, he obviously meant that we could become rich in generosity as we give to God’s work in the grace of God.
The two mistakes that people make when talking about giving is that 1) it’s a burden, and 2) that we give so we can get back, because, you know, “God’s gonna bless you real good.” When we approach giving as followers of Christ, it should be a joy to give to God’s work and to help others. Because my wife and I practice percentage giving, when she writes our check to the church, we’re reminded of how much God has blessed us over the past week, or month. It’s a joy to be able to give larger amounts. And when our giving checks aren’t so big, we’re stll joyful that God has blessed us enough to be able to give and still have money left over. We rejoice as we think about how God’s people will use that money in His kingdom work. We don’t “give to get” either. Some people believe that when Jesus taught about God giving back a hundred fold, that it applies to money and when they write their $200 check to the church, they’re expecting $20,000 to be lying in a sack on their doorstep. The truth is, that we give in rich generosity by the grace of God so that we can meet the needs of others, knowing that when times get tough for us, God will have ways of meeting our needs. When we give generously under the grace of God, we have a reward that’s far greater than any financial return. We can rejoice that God counted us faithful and allowed us to have a part in His kingdom work.
Lord, thank You for the blessing of being able to give. Give me the grace to give generously to others so that I might play a small part in growing Your kingdom.