Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How should we give?

I have to confess brethren....parts of Chapter 8 and 9 had me wanting to read and move on; but the Truth is, we need to consider what Paul is making clear in these 2 chapters.

This morning I thought more about it and re-read both chapters. I concluded this: We as “rugged hard working Americans” don't like some of this text because it sounds like socialism. But, as you consider it deeper, it is NOT socialism and it is not even political. Before I continue, let's revisit chapter 8, verses 12-15:
2Corinthians 8:12-15 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.
13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness
14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.
15 As it is written, "Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack."
First, let's set the scene. Corinthian believers have determined in there heart that they wanted to provide for the financial needs of the saints in Jerusalem (v. 5). The saints in Jerusalem weren't lazy and idle; they were doing God's Work, whether preaching The Gospel or otherwise. It is important that we dispel this notion that these are lazy people looking for a hand out.

Second, Paul is talking about helping the brethren; not putting money into a collective and redistributing it to any old 'Tom, Dick or Harry'. This money is to minister to the saints!

2Corinthians 9:1 Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints,
As in ALL things, God looks to the condition of our heart.
2Corinthians 9:6-7 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
Grudgingly
GRUDG'INGLY, adv. Unwillingly; with reluctance or discontent; as, to give grudgingly.

Now here's the paradigm shift.....WE ONLY GIVE WHAT HE PROVIDES!! But take a look at what He does for those who are genuinely generous, cheerful in giving and their heart is not reluctant or regretful:

2Corinthians 9:10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,

Proverbs 22:9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.
In addition to administering to the saints, a cheerful giver is expressing their abounding love and thanks to God:
2Corinthians 9:12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,

Matthew 6:19-20 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

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