“But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.” – 2 Corinthians 8:7
I pray these words in conjunction with last Sunday’s sermon (Please listen!) will help Christians seek to excel in this God-honoring act. I encourage you to re-read 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, and 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 as you read this.
Practical and Theological Principles of Giving
- Giving is an act of grace that should not be coerced by men.
If giving ought to be grace filled and free (2 Cor 8:7),
May I give unpressured, uncoerced and heart full of glee (2 Cor 9:5).
Implication: There is a way that I can give that can deprive myself and others of seeing Christ’s grace flowing out of me.
- Giving expresses my love for God and should reflect the income God has given me.
If the way I give expresses how I genuinely love God and others (2 Cor 8:8),
May loving, giving grow as God makes me prosper (1 Cor 16:2).
Implication: The specific amount I give is not the indicator of my love for God and others.
- Christ gave His very life for sinners, so we should give if we have Christ.
If Christ the King became poor, taking on flesh, dying FOR ME not based on my status, wealth, or worthiness (2 Cor 8:9),
May I, whether rich or poor, give universally with eyes set on Christ’s kindness (1 Cor 16:2).
Implication: Giving is not a specific gift that only certain people should partake in. Believing that giving is selective, deprives potential givers from extending grace and love to others and worship to God.
- Giving can lead others to praise God, so I should plan to do it.
If my giving leads others to God, full of thanksgiving and praise (2 Cor 9:11-13),
May I never rob God of glory nor others of godly praise but rather give in regularity and plan God’s glory in hearts to raise (1 Cor 16:2).
Implication: If my giving is an attempt to point others to my greatness, I am robbing God of glory and leading others astray.
Reflect, Pray, Confess, Act
Holy Father, let these questions probe my heart to excel in giving for your glory! Amen.
Question: When I give, is Christ’s sacrifice for me at the forefront of my mind and heart? How does thinking of Christ transform how I give?
Question: How do the opinions of man affect my giving? Do I give only when pressured to do so? Do I give, so that others will notice and think highly of me (Read Luke 18:9-14)?
Question: Does my family, my home, my heart view and express giving like a monthly electric bill or as an expression of worship and thankfulness (2 Cor 9:7)?
Question: In my heart, do I believe my possessions are my own self-earned property, or do I believe that everything I am and have is God’s property?