What Does Our Giving Say About God?
Everything that we do is significant in some way
The mundane actions of life seem trivial, but can really paint a larger picture about what our life is all about. Sometimes things are done so regularly that they become part of the background of our life as we live on autopilot. Personal consistency and discipline are key aspects of sanctification for a Christian. These things we do tell others a message about who we are and Who we serve.
One of the clearest ways you tell others about God is through giving. 2 Corinthians 9:5-16 is the most direct passage of scripture that speaks to the motivation behind giving. In this passage you are telling others about God by:
- How you give
- What you get back when you give
- Why you give
How You Give
So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:5-7
In this portion of Scripture, Paul gives three contrasting pairs of examples showing how to give and how not to give. The first is willing giving versus giving as an exaction. For those of you who don’t use the word exaction in everyday language, a synonym is extortion. There is a gulf of difference between giving something willingly and being extorted.
The second pair is giving bountifully verses giving sparingly. Galatians 6 tells us that “God is not mocked, for whatever one sown, that will he also reap.” This farming analogy points out that we shouldn’t expect a full crop where we haven’t planted seed. Giving sparingly isn’t really giving at all. It’s not amount how much you give, it’s about your generosity in the process.
The third pair is decided in one’s heart verses reluctantly or under compulsion. Guilting someone else into giving to you is not a good way to enable a heart of generosity. A forced gift is no gift at all.
What You Get Back When You Give
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:8-10
Here’s an aspect of giving that makes us all a little uncomfortable. God blesses us when we give. Listen, I don’t mean that God is your retirement plan or your investment portfolio. He is not a divine stock broker turning your giving into a lucrative investment with a 40% ROI. That is the perversion of the prosperity gospel.
What does he give us? Verse 8 says that he makes grace abound so that we aren’t in need. This is not a financial principle. It is a contentment principle. When give the right way, God grants us contentment to take care of any need we may have. Verse 9 tells us that he gives freely to us. Verse 10 also tells us that he increases the harvest of our righteousness. This phrase means that he uses us as instruments of grace for the salvation of others.
Why You Give
You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Corinthians 9:11-15
This is the key portion of this entire passage, especially verse 13. This is where the God language ties in. The blessings that God gives us cultivates a heart of thankfulness. This thankfulness gives glory to God. Ultimately, our giving becomes an act of confessing the gospel of Christ. This is huge! Our correct motivation for giving preaches the gospel! We give because God has given to us!!
This is what makes the church different than the Red Cross. We give for the sake of the gospel. When you put your offering in the plate, if your motivation is anything else other than gratitude and thankfulness for God’s salvation, then you don’t need to give. If you are giving for any other end than to see the church make disciples of all nations, then you don’t need to give.
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