The Givers Gain – Campbell Bond
Ever felt like you’re full of potential, yet your life seem to be stuck in a ‘holding pattern?’ Try as you may you can’t seem to breakout of the seasons of limitation into the abundance you sense God has for you. I’ve been enlarged recently buy a study of 2 Cor 8-9. These two chapters are really one unit and compromise the most complete revelation in the Bible on the topic of giving. God has much to communicate to us thru these two chapters.
Jerusalem had been hit by a severe famine and Paul had previously written to the Corinthians about preparing a special offering at assist them during this difficult time. (1 Cor 16:1-3). In these chapters Paul outlines some great examples of giving (8:1-9) the purposes for giving (8:7-15) the principles of giving (8:16-9:5) and finally the results of giving (9:6-15)
Paul uses the example of the Macedonians liberal giving to inspire generosity in the hearts of the Corinthians. This principle is used at LIFE during our Legacy offering when the total sum amount of the leaders giving is presented to the congregation to inspire them in their generosity. The Macedonians were afflicted and in deep poverty themselves (8:2) yet they gave according to their ability and even ‘beyond their ability.’ (8:3) Far from condemning this sacrificial giving, Paul holds it up as an example of sincere love that is to be emulated. Paul follows this up with the greatest example of giving that of Christ giving up His position, rights and privileges in order to come to earth and sacrificially die for us. It’s been said that two traits one will find in all true Christians is 1) they will give and, 2) they will forgive. This is the essence of Christianity. It’s a love that seeks the wellbeing of others at the expense of self rather than a worldly mentality of seeking to satisfy self at the expense of others. These fundamentals need to be constantly meditated upon and practiced until they become our way of life.
The apostolic exhortation was “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart….” Giving has always been something God requires of us. The love of money is the root of evil and God knows the importance of giving to keep our hearts off ourselves and on the legitimate needs of others and the world He desires to reach. In the Old Testament they were known as free will offerings. God required the tithe in Israel to look after His house but the offerings were over and above the tithe and would fund His vision in the earth. Such generous giving among God people is referred to as a ‘grace’ as it’s literally one of the highest manifestations of the divine influence flowing thru our lives and making us like God. (2 Cor 8:1,6,7) Love longs to give and suffers when it can’t (John 3:16) It was the love of God that sent Jesus to earth on our behalf. Pauls exhorts them to ensure that they abound in this grace of giving as well as many other important areas. (8:7)
Such giving isn’t to be out of external restraint but willingly. While the Church can’t know your motivation, God does and giving is only acceptable to God if it is done willingly with a motivation for Gods glorification. (2 Cor 8:12, 1 Cor 13:3) Paul states that God loves a cheerful giver. The word comes from the Greek word hilaros where we get our word hilarious from. What a contrast to the worldly preoccupation of hoarding and self-consumption. A cheerful giver, giving while smiling, laughing…………….that’s truly is a manifestation of Gods work in our lives!
When we sacrificially give our resources to bless others, God sees and is moved to ensure that He is no man debtor. God has a thousand and one ways to remunerates across ‘all’ areas of of lives, so that we ‘always’ have ‘all sufficiency’ in ‘all things’ may have an ‘abundance for every good work.’ 2 Cor 9:8 is quite a promise! In sync with Gods heart, Paul prays that God would supply and multiply the seed we have sown back to the sower (v10) What a great prayer for us to be praying over the many thousand who have given generously during our Legacy offering recently. Paul then quotes from Ps 112:9 where the promise states ‘His righteousness remains forever.’ There is something about giving that establishes Gods nature in our hearts, locks our hearts into Gods kingdom and establishes us in righteousness. In a day when many are falling away from the faith, this is a great incentive to give generously knowing that as we direct our treasure (money) towards Gods purposes it has the ability to cement our hearts into eternal, imperishable and glorious Kingdom of God.
Lord help us to be generous givers and fund Your purposes in the earth. Amen!