Giving, An Act Of Grace!
On Oct.28 to Nov.1 some of us attended ICOM, the missionary conference. One of the things I enjoy about that conference is the fact you get to know so many missions throughout the world. You get a glimpse of what God is doing in other parts of the globe. That conference is only possible due to the generosity of churches all over USA. I was encouraged this year when I saw churches in the Richmond area that came together to fund church planting. There were about 4 churches, during the conference, checks were given to those to go plant a church. The goal of the offering that weekend was $ 60, 000. Someone in the conference committed himself to give $30, 000 if they reached the goal. The next day this was reached. I was amazed at the generosity displayed there. Have you ever wondered what motivates people to be so generous?
King David rejoiced greatly at the willing generosity of the people in donating the materials and resources for the building of the temple. 1 Chr. 29:1-20
Paul would brag about the Macedonian churches and their generosity, especially the church at Philippi. Php.4:15-16 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, no one church shared with me in matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.
Paul used the example of the Macedonians to try to motivate the Corinthian church to be more generous. The Corinthians had pledged themselves to help the poor Christians in Judea who were going through a famine, but a year went by and they didn’t do anything, then Paul wrote to them to remind them about their previous pledge.
The Corinthian church was very good in many areas: the exposition of the gospel, faith and knowledge, but they were not a very generous church. Paul encouraged them to excel also in their generosity, which he called “grace of giving” 2 Cor.8:7 The Macedonian churches surprised Paul with their giving, he said they did not do as he expected. In other words, they exceeded the expectations of the apostle. Paul told the Corinthians about the example of the Macedonian churches in an attempt to motivate the Corinthians to give.
In Chapter 9 Paul uses an agricultural illustration to challenge the Corinthians to be generous.
Remember this. (This is the point of what I have said before)
2 Cor.9:6-11 – Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. Whoever sows generously will also reap generously. (a farmer who only plants a few seed, should not expect a large harvest). Gal.6:7 A mam reaps what he sows. Paul is challenging the church at Corinth to be generous in their giving. They had the resources and were better off than the Judean churches.
Giving is a matter of the heart (v.7)Each man should give what he has decided in his heart (this is a private matter as well) Even though Paul challenged them to give generously, he reminded them that it will be up to them how much they will give. Giving is a matter of the heart.
Don’t give reluctantly or out regretfully or grudgingly. You should not give because you are pressured to give.
God loves a cheerful giver, one who gives hilariously (this is the offering God accepts because it comes from the heart).
Giving or being generous requires trust in God.
The giver has to have the trust that God is able to make all grace abound, God would not run out of resources on your behalf. He will provide, so that in all things at all times you will also abound in every good work. People who trust God, give without hesitation, but those who don’t trust God have a tough time showing generosity. They forget that God is able to make them overflow in kindness so that they will always have the opportunity to who generosity to others.
God is the source for generosity. (v.10)
He is called the supplier (provider) seed to the sower, bread for food will also provide for you and increase your store of seed. God will enlarge your harvest so that you always have the opportunity to show generosity. God was also generous with us; he loved us and he gave us his only Son, so that through him we can have life. God shows us how to be generous with the things he has given us or provided for us. Jesus even said that when we show generosity to others we are showing it to him. Matt.25:35-36
-I was hungry and you gave me something to eat
-I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink
-I was a stranger and you invited me in,
-I needed clothes and you clothed me
-I was sick and you looked after me
-I was in prison and you came to visit me.
When did we ever do this? Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
God is truly the source of our generosity and understanding his grace will cause us to be generous.
Your generosity causes people to thank God. Paul thanked God for the Philippian church that supported him in his ministry.
-Missionaries were praising God for the generosity of churches that decided to partner with them in providing resources so they would continue to preach Jesus in their mission field.
This past week, we thank God for his provisions. He provided people, resources for us, so that we also show generosity toward others. Giving is truly an act of Grace, the more you understand grace the more generous you will become.
‘Where grace happens, generosity happens” Max Lucado.