Archive for November 7th, 2017

2 Corinthians 8

2 Corinthians 8, Paul continues teaching the church in Corinth about walking with Christ in obedience.  His focus in this chapter is around giving.  He describes what it really looks like to be a cheerful giver.  “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us”.  The faithful were not just givers of money, even beyond what they really could give, but they also gave themselves to the work of the ministry.

When we think of tithing we can get hung up on what that truly means.  For some, it means 10% of our money – that’s what we owe God.  But is it?  Tithing really should address all of what God has entrusted to us.  First of all, everything we have already belongs to Him.  We are stewards of God’s blessing and don’t own any of it ourselves.  But tithing should not be just a financial measurement.  It is about our time, our energy, our gifts and all that God has bestowed on us.  And we should give until it hurts.  It shouldn’t just be from our excess.  Giving should be driven by the heart and should cost us something.

Paul’s desire for the Corinthian church was that they excel in how they give.  “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”.  Giving is not something we have to do. It should be something we want to do.  Jesus set the example of what true giving is all about.  Not just money, but even our life, all of it.  “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich”.  Jesus traded all He had and was that we might experience all that God is and has for us.

But Paul also makes it clear that giving has to be accompanied by transparency and accountability.  “We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man”.  Anyone who handles money for ministry must be accountable in how they manage those funds, and must do it in a way that meets God’s standards and is transparent to man.  There is much responsibility with handling money that is given for God’s ministry.  Paul wanted to be very clear that he and his team were handling it in a way pleasing to the Lord and man.

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