You Give – God Gets the Glory.
2 Corinthians 9
As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 9:13 NLT
For many in the church today, the word, giving conjures up all kinds of negative images. Some who once made going to church a regular part of their life, quit going long ago because they felt like all the church wanted was their money. And in the case of some churches, it would appear that building campaigns and fund-raising efforts have taken the place of the Gospel. Yes, there are times when churches need to grow and must depend on their congregation for the resources to make those efforts possible. But giving, while essential, was never intended to be the primary message of the church. It has always been an integral part of the believer’s experience, even during the early days of the church. But it would seem that the purpose behind giving was more practical and aimed at ministering to the needs of the growing body of Christ around the world.
Paul had no problem asking the various churches to whom he had ministered to give money toward the needs of the believers in Jerusalem. He asked boldly and he expected them to give generously. He wanted them to give willingly and not grudgingly. In fact, Paul told them “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT). Giving was to be a decision between the individual believer and God. It was to be an expression of faith and a tangible picture of their love for God and for others. Giving is not a selfish or self-centered act, but something done in cooperation with God. “For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you” (2 Corinthians 9:10 NLT). This is not a promise of prosperity and riches if you give. Paul is not saying that God is obligated to bless you with a financial windfall if you give. He is simply reminding his audience that it is God who gives us all that we have. Just as a farmer must depend on God to provide the seed and, ultimately, the bread, so we are dependent on God to provide us with our jobs and even the capacity to work so that we might earn a wage. God enriches us so that we might enrich others. He is generous with us so that we might be generous with others. And when we give, not only are others blessed, He gets glory. “And when we take you gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving – the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God” (2 Corinthians 9:12 NLT).
Our generosity to others will cause them to glorify God. They may never know that we were the ones who contributed to their need, but they will know that God was behind it all. And when we give willingly and generously to the needs of others, it is practical proof of the reality of the Gospel in our lives. Generosity is not a natural outflow of the human heart. Because of sin, we are prone to selfishness. We tend to want to horde and are suspicious of those who might take what we see as rightfully ours. One of the first words every child learns to say is, “MIne!” Possessing comes naturally to all of us. Giving does not. Sharing is not a normal or natural trait for most children. It must be taught to and, in some cases, forced upon most children. And most of us still struggle with it as adults. But the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives should begin to change all that. The more we grow to understand the grace and mercy we have been given by God, the more we should learn to share what we have with others. Paul describes it “the overflowing grace God has given.” He has been overwhelmingly generous with us, providing us with the priceless gift of His Son. So He fully expects us to be generous with one another. All that we have, He has provided. He blesses us so that we might be a blessing to others. He gives to us so that we might give to one another. He meets our needs in order that we might learn to meet the needs of those around us. Which is why Paul tells us, “Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 NLT). Give because you can. Give because you want to. Give because God has given to you. Give because it brings glory to Him. Give because it strengthens the body and grows the Kingdom. Give because you can’t out-give God. Giving is a ministry, not an obligation. It is a privilege, not a burden. It is a gift, and we should thank God for it.
Father, I want giving to become increasingly more a part of my life. I want it to be a joy to give. I want to see it as a privilege, not a burden. I want to give in faith, knowing that it is You who meets all my needs – not me. I want to learn to trust You for all my needs as I willingly, joyfully help meet the needs of others. I want to increasingly know from experience that I can’t ever out-give You. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men