Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Grace of Giving

Please take time to read 2 Corinthians chapter 8.

Many people are jaded by/against their church because they hate that their church talks too much about giving.  Many people don't understand why giving is something that churches even talk about.  Well, Paul wrote very directly about giving to the church at Corinth.  Let's look at part of what he wrote.

"But just as you excel in everything... in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us... see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you though His poverty might become rich."
2 Corinthians 8:7-9

We, as maturing Christians, must grow in the grace of giving.  We are to grow in all areas: faith, speech knowledge and in giving.  We do not experience the fulness of what God has for us until we grow in the grace of giving.  How many of you would argue that growing in faith is unimportant?  None of you.  Then why do we argue that growing in giving is not important?

Paul didn't command the Corinthians to give; rather he said he was testing the sincerity of their love.  Give me your budget or spending records for this past year and I'll tell you what you love.  How we spend our money is an excellent barometer of our love.  So, we don't give money to our local church or foreign missionaries because God is incapable of accomplishing His will without our cash.  We give because it shows what we love.  Really it helps give us assurance that we love and trust God.

We also give because Christ gave first and gave more.  Jesus was on His throne ruling and reigning in perfection before He came to earth as a helpless baby born to a poor carpenter and a young mother.  Jesus gave up everything, including His life; this should inspire our giving.

Some of you give to your church and/or charities.  That is awesome.  Some of you don't and I invite you to experience the benefits of giving and growing into Christian maturity.

Here's some guidelines for giving that I'm borrowing from Weird by Craig Groeschel:

Groeschel says there are three types of givers.

1) Spontaneous Givers.
These people give when a cause inspires them to give.  For instance, when a youth group needs money for a mission trip a spontaneous giver might write a check and help them out or let them borrow their vehicle.  Spontaneous giving is good and it should be done by Christians, but it is just a small step into the grace of giving.

2) Strategic Givers.
These givers plan ahead so they can be generous.  These folks are your tithers who faithfully give every paycheck whether 10%, 15%, 20%, etc.  Strategic givers realize that "giving is not something we do; generous is who we are."  Maturing Christians should move into this category of givers.

3) Sacrificial Givers.
These people "don't just believe that things of this world don't matter; they completely live that way."  These people aren't necessarily poor monks; in fact, many of them are rich, they have just reached an understanding that everything they have is God's and they use everything, including money, in light of that.

Grow in the grace of giving.  I won't promise you that God will bless you with riches; some of the best givers are still poor.  No, I can't promise you wealth (although God may choose to give you wealth so you can give more) what I will promise you is that as you grow in the grace of giving God will bless and sanctify you.  If you are a spontaneous giver work to become a strategic giver.  If you are a strategic giver become a more sacrificial giver.  Grow in the grace of giving and God will grow you today.

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