Giving (Part 2)
2 Cor. 8:9-15
Giving is a test of love. Paul the Apostle made the Macedonians as the role model to the Corinthians when it comes to giving. Indeed, the Macedonians giving is exemplary, however, there is another one that tops it all. It’s none other than that of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The word grace
here is: 1. God’s undeserved, unmerited love in Christ, (2 Cor. 8:1,9; 2 Cor. 9:8,14). 2. Favor/privilege (2 Cor. 8:4). 3. The offering to Jerusalem, (2 Cor. 8:1,6,7,19). 4. Thanks, (2 Cor. 8:16; 9:15)
Illustration 1: Proper Motives
Proper motives are essential in Christian service. This is especially true in the giving of our money. The Lord is more concerned with why we give than with how much we give. We must have a right heart attitude. Therefore, we should never give in order to receive the praise of others, but because we love God and desire to see His name honored and glorified.
An experience in the life of English preacher and theologian Andrew Fuller illustrates this truth. James Duff, in Flashes of Truth, told of a time when Fuller went back to his hometown to collect money for foreign missions. One of his contacts was an old friend. When presented with the need, the man said, “Well, Andrew, seeing it’s you, I’ll give you five dollars.” “No,” said Fuller, “I can’t take your money for my cause, seeing it is for me,” and he handed the money back. The man saw his point. “Andrew, you are right. Here’s ten dollars, seeing it is for Jesus Christ.” Duff concluded, “Let us remember, it is not the amount we give toward helping the Lord’s work; it is the motive He looks at.”
When we have the opportunity to contribute to some worthy Christian cause, may we do so with the right purpose in mind. We should never give just because we feel obligated to organizations or persons, nor because we desire to receive selfish recognition or reward. The apostle Paul said, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). We should honestly say, “It’s for the Lord!” – R.W.D. Our Daily Bread, August 15
I. Christ’s grace (2 Cor. 8:9)
A. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ”. The ultimate example of gracious giving is our Lord Jesus Christ, by His sacrificial atoning work on the cross of Calvary. He was infinitely rich in the presence of His Father (Jn. 17:5; Phil. 2:6). He willingly became poor in His incarnation (Phil. 2:5-8). He was born in a very humble setting, having a manger as a bed, and being born to parents who were poor. He left the wealth of heaven and took on the poverty of this earth in His incarnation. He who was rich became poor for the sake of those of us who were spiritually “bankrupt” in our sins. Through faith in His sacrificial work on the Cross of Calvary, He has made all those who trust in Him exceedingly rich.
B. Whatever we might do for those who are poor can never compare with the work of Christ on the cross. Our material wealth can never compare to His heavenly glory; and our sacrificial poverty can never compare to the poverty He endured in His incarnation. The person and work of Christ is the basis for our motivation, and it is the standard for our ministry. The cross of Christ, that message which seems foolish to the unbelieving (1 Cor. 1:18-25), and certainly to the unbelieving false apostles (2 Cor. 11:4), is the unending theme of all of Paul‘s teaching. As he can never speak enough of the cross, we should never hear enough of the cross of Christ (Col. 2).
Illustration 2: The Paradox of Christ
He is the King of kings, the radiance of His glory, the Lord of the spaceless, fabulous, infinite universe, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, unspeakable holy, dwelling in light, unapproachable, changeless and yet He condescended to be enclosed in lowly human flesh, to be born a despised Judean, in a filthy stable, in the womb of a simple Israeli woman and without fanfare or pomp. Source unknown
II. Advice in giving (2 Cor. 8:10)
A. Paul was not commanding the Corinthians to give any specific amount. It was his opinion, however, that it was to their advantage to give generously so they might receive abundantly more from God, in neither material blessing, spiritual blessings, or eternal rewards (2 Cor. 9:6, Lk. 6:38)
B. A pledge to aid in the offering for the impoverished saints in Jerusalem have been made by the Corinthians a year before. For some reason, it did not happen. Let them now keep their pledge.
C. Willing mind (2 cor. 8:12)
Paul spoke of a readiness and willingness to give. God is more concerned with the heart attitude of the giver, not the amount he gives. (2 Cor. 9:2, Mk. 12:41-44). According to that he hath not. God does not expect us to give what
we do not have. The first thing needed in giving is a willingness to give, which is the main thing. If a person is going to give, they are to give within their means.
Illustration 3: Alexander the Great
The story is told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for alms from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler, no right even to lift a solicitous hand. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. A courtier was astonished at his
generosity and commented, “Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need. Why give him gold?”
Alexander responded in royal fashion, “Copper coins would suit the beggar’s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving.” Source unknown
III. Equality in giving (2 Cor. 8:13-15).
“For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened…” (2 Cor. 8:13): The Corinthians were well able to relieve the need of the Jewish Christians in Judea, Someday the circumstances might be reversed, and the Judean Christians would be called upon to help the Corinthians. Put the Golden Rule into practice with this in mind (Matt. 7:12). The principle of equality should be maintained.
“As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over…” (2 Cor. 8:15): To illustrate the principle of equality in giving, Paul quotes from the experience of the children of Israel (Ex. 16:18). When the manna fell, whatever each individual gathered, there was found to be “an omer for every man” (Ex. 16:16). “An omer” is four (4) pints (See Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, page 891, Second Edition, 1963).
The equality of manna was carried out by some miraculous means, so that no one had more or less than he needed of the divine provision. The greedy Israelite found his extra manna would not keep. Let us as Christians be wise and diligent in gathering, but Let us be generous and wise distributors (Prov. 11:24).
Illustration 4: Paderewski
Many years ago, two young men were working their way through Stanford University. At one point their money was almost gone, so they decided to engage the great pianist Paderewski for a concert
and use the profits for board and tuition. Paderewski’s manager asked for a guarantee of $1,000. the students worked hard to promote the concert, but they came up $400 short. After the performance, they went to the musician, gave him all the money they had raised, and promised to pay the $400 as
soon as they could. It appeared that their college days were over. “No, boys, that won’t do,” said the pianist. “Take out of this $1600 all your expenses, and keep for each of you 10 percent of the balance for your work. Let me have the rest.”
Years passed. Paderewski became premier of Poland following World War I. Thousands of his countrymen were starving. Only one man could help—the head of the U. S. Food and Relief Bureau. Paderewski’s appeal to him brought thousands of tons of food. Later he met the American
statesman to thank him. “That’s all right,” replied Herbert Hoover. “Besides, you don’t remember, but you helped me once when I was a student in college.”
The principle of liberality set forth in Proverbs 11:25 finds its origin in God. He is overflowing in His goodness, lavish in His mercy, and abounding in His grace. How inconceivable that we His creatures, especially His redeemed children, could be greedy and selfish! Remember, liberality is part of God’s
way of taking care of us. – D.J.D. Our Daily Bread, April 10
It is our duty to give and to help people who are in need specially to our fellow believers. Our best example in giving is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who become poor so that we may become rich. Will you follow His example? Its your heart attitude which He looks at not how much you give.