Christian Giving

2 Corinthians 9:5–12 (NLT) So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly.
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 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.”* 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”*
10 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.
11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 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.
Paul said that the church in Corinth was endowed with many gifts (1 Cor. 1:7).  Now he encourages the church to give generously in response to the need of the churches in Jerusalem.  Paul and his companions are making a journey around the churches collecting this offering (2 Cor. 9:1).  The whole passage concerns the collection for the church in Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:1-9:15)  The Corinthian church had started collecting for the relief of the poor Christians in Jerusalem over a year before Paul wrote 2 Cor.  (2 Cor. 8:10)
Our model in giving, according to Paul, is the Lord himself:
2 Cor. 8:9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich.   Paul gives us three exhortations about giving:
1.  Give proportionally
2.  Give generously
3.  Give cheerfully
1.  Give proportionally.
Proportional giving means giving according to what you have.
2 Cor. 8:11 Now you should finish what you started.  Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving.  Give in proportion to what you have.  12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly.  And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.
If God has blessed you with an abundance, then you should give abundantly.  The principle of the tithe was well established in the OT (Num. 18:21; Mal. 3:10) .  Abraham was the first who is mentioned as giving a tithe, that is, a tenth to the Lord at Salem.
Wesley did not teach that Christians were under the law concerning the tithe.  Rather, he saw the tithe as a beginning point.  He determined to live off of a certain amount as a young man, and to give everything else above that amount to the Lord.  In the first year, he gave a tithe and then he increased the amount every year after that as his income increased.
His three principles for giving were:
Earn all you can.
Save all you can.
Give all you can.
2.  Give generously.
Paul’s second principle is to give generously.
2 Cor. 9:6 Remember this – a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop.  But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.
Paul turns to agriculture for an illustration of the benefits of generosity.  The way that you sow is the way that you will reap.  Every farmer knows how to maximize the yield on the field.  That is their goal.  That should be our goal also.  Every gift that we give to the Lord is an opportunity to receive the blessing of the return.
We shouldn’t be thinking in terms of a physical or monetary blessing, such as receiving back money or such.  This is the kind of gross thinking that passes for preaching in the prosperity Gospel.  The blessing that we receive back, Paul mentions in 2 Cor. 9:12, 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.
If the tithe is a beginning, then we should start there.  If we are not tithing, then we should increase our giving until we are tithing.  In Mal. 3, the Lord says to test him in this.  God will bless us through our giving.
3.  Give joyfully
2 Cor. 9:7 You must 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.”
Lord, help us to give eagerly in proportion and generously according to how you have blessed us, and with a joyful spirit.  Amen.

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