Matthew R. Perry

Give Generously (Part II: A Biblical Attitude of Giving)

In church, church attendees, Church Life, church membership, Finances, Giving on May 21, 2008 at 3:21 pm

The Apostle Paul continues:

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. [9] 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. [10] And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it (2 Corinthians 8:8-10, ESV).

Paul urges the Corinthian church to give genuinely. Don’t give with any pretenses. This is why he prefaces his comments here with, “I say this not as a command.” He is not saying that this is optional, for God does command us to give to help the people of God do their work. He could have made this command, but he did not want them to do this because they had to — that’s not genuine. He wanted them to do this genuinely to “prove by the earnestness of others that your love also was genuine.” What picture does he give to drive this home? None other than the Gospel.

A well-known philanthropist was asked, “How is it that you give away so much, and yet have so much left?” “I suppose it’s like this,” he replied. “I shovel out, and God shovels in, and he has a bigger shovel than I do!” Christ out of his abundance became poor so that we might become rich! This echoes Philippians 2:5-8:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [6] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, [8] he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The “poverty” that Christ experienced reflected in a greater way the “extreme poverty” or the empty vessel that was found among the other Macedonian churches. But Christ used the poverty of becoming a servant to all in order that we might become rich in Christ. Col. 1:27 says, “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” With this,When we see the sacrifice of Christ and how Christ is in us, we will see the joy that comes with sacrifice for the Kingdom as well.

Do we give genuinely? Do we give out of love for God and love for neighbor? In Matthew 23:23, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for keeping requirements for requirements’ sake in order to make themselves look better, but weren’t willing to sacrifice:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (Matthew 23:23, ESV).

Some of us may be guilty of that. We give out of the bare requirements, but not out of genuine love. We may get a $944.40 paycheck, so when it comes giving time, what’s the check amount? That’s right: $99.44. This may be a reflection of our live before God. You see, God calls us to live out a genuine commitment to him that is full, authentic, and real.

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