Ok, here we are again, and I’m still talking about money. I know there are other subjects to talk about and one day I might talk about them, but not today. The last two times we spoke about how God is not against us being prosperous, remembering that the word prosperous means ‘to be helped on one’s way’. We have also seen why God wants us to be prosperous and that is to help others on their way. This time we are talking about how to give our money to help other people. We know why but we also need to know how. In 2 Cor chp 8 & 9 God gives us some simple points on how to give our money. Let’s have a look at four of them.
- Give yourself to God first – 2 Cor 8:5
The Macedonian Church was very poor but they wanted to give the church at Jerusalem some money because they were very poor. Now the thing about giving money when you are poor is that it is hard to give what you don’t have. Ever felt like that? Well let’s see what the Macedonians did. It says in verse 5 that they gave themselves to God first, concerning what they should give. Notice they did not just give willy-nilly but they prayed to God submitting themselves to His leading. We know this because this is what Paul tells us they did. Then, only after that, did they go to Paul and tell him what they were doing. So the thing we learn from this is that God is the first person we approach when it comes to giving money.
2. Don’t give if it’s going to put you in need – 2 Cor 8:13-14
Now I know what you are thinking already. Aren’t we meant to give sacrificially Scott? You can give sacrificially if you like or give until it hurts and that is very noble, but God says that you should not give if it is going to put you in need. You can, but God says there is a better way and that better way is equality. What I mean by that is you should raise people to your level and not lower yourself to theirs. The church at Corinth had plenty of money and the church at Jerusalem did not. Paul says in verse 13 ‘I do not want you to give that you should be burdened or placed in need, but your plenty at the moment will help the church at Jerusalem out of a big hole’. Then Paul even quotes another scripture in verse 15 from Exodus 16:18 (I’ll let you read that). Now remember, prospering is all about being helped on your way so that you can help others on their way. It’s about lifting people out of a hole they might be in financially or materially. You can’t pull someone out of a hole if you are in the hole as well.
3. No matter how much you give, you will always reap – 2 Cor 9:6
A lot of people think that when you give you have to give a lot or it’s just not worth giving. In 2 Cor 8:12 it says ‘If you have a willing mind to give, your gift of giving is accepted on what you have (a little or a lot), not on what you don’t have. So it’s not about how much you give, it’s about the fact that you are giving – that’s what counts to God. Now in chapter 9, verse 6 it talks about sowing a little and reaping a little, and sowing a lot and reaping a lot. Most people have taken this to be a negative vibe on giving and have used it in conferences, rallies and other meetings to con people into giving a lot because a little is no good. But that is not what it says, because in verse 7 it says that ‘each of us should give as we have purposed or determined in our hearts to give’. Verse 7 relates to verse 6 in giving a little or a lot, and notice in verse 6 it says whether you give a little or a lot you are going to reap (or get a return) on your giving a little or a lot, not on just giving a lot. So, whether we have a little to give or we have a heap to give, God says we will reap (or get a return) on our giving. So it is not a negative verse on giving as some people think, but a positive one, bringing those with a little and those with a lot on equal terms. The equal term is that both shall reap – so start giving.
4. Do not give regretfully or out of guilt or pressure – 2 Cor 9:7
Since we have looked at the first half of verse 7, in the previous point, let us now look at the second half of verse 7, to make this point. This verse says we should not give if we are going to regret it or feel sorry about giving. It also says we should not give out of guilt or pressure. Now it seems to me that the only time I ever feel pressured into giving is when someone gets up the front of a meeting and starts to tell me about how many problems there are in the world and we in the meeting are the ones that can fix them – or some other scenario like that. God says when people make us feel guilty for not giving and pressure us in such a way that we feel we have to give, He says don’t give. Scott, that sounds terrible, surely we must give if the need is there. NO. You are not to give just because there is a need; you should give because as POINT 1 has already stated you have gone to God first and asked Him if you should give. This relieves all the pressure and the guilt that has been laid on you, because you have obeyed scripture and therefore in obeying scripture you are obeying God. Most of the time when we give because we have been pressured or made to feel guilty, that’s when we feel regretful for having given. That is not the way God intended this wonderful grace of giving to be acted out.
I work hard for my money and I am sure you do too. God tells me to be a good steward with the things I am given and that would include my money. So I don’t think it is wise of me or you to flitter away our hard earned cash on any whim or cleverly delivered appeal. I should give because it is right to give and God says to give. The good thing about God is He has a plan and strategy that will help us to give the way he intended. I hope these points will help you in your walk with God and I pray that God will continue to show you His purpose and plan for your life .