Matthew R. Perry

Give Readily (Part III: The Biblical Attitude of Giving)

In Church Life, Finances, Giving, Sermons on May 23, 2008 at 6:57 am

The key word in this passage is “readiness.” John Calvin notes that there are three degrees of giving in this act of grace:

First, we sometimes act unwillingly, but it is from shame or fear. Secondly, we act willingly, but at the same time it is from being either impelled, or induced from influence apart from our own minds. Thirdly, we act from the promptings of our own minds, when we of our own accord set ourselves to do what is becoming. Such cheerfulness of anticipation is better than the actual performance of the deed .

We can give out of shame (no!), out of a twisting of an arm (no!), or out of a spirit transformed by Christ who changes our hearts from self to servanthood. The Corinthian church risked being cool to their duty of giving, so Paul urges them to “finish doing it as well.” May your desire and readiness match the abundance of which God has given to you. If God has given to you, and there are others such as your church or fellow Christians who are struggling, God has allowed you to have what you have not for personal gain but for the glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom.

You say, “Bro. Matt, this economy. I’ve got to feed my family and take care of some serious issues in my life. I got to get out from under this debt. I know I should give, but I just don’t think if I give a small sum of money that it would make a big difference. There are others who are rich, let them handle the burden until I get on my feet.” Oh, so you find yourself thinking exclusively in amount of money rather than the amount of grace God extended to you?

Do you remember the passage we read earlier from Mark 12:41-44

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. [42] And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. [43] And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. [44] For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Readiness — not just looking at a particular amount, but looking to the Savior! Why? Because of a promise made. 2 Cor. 9:5 says, “So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.” Do we realize that when we came to Christ that we came surrendering our all to him?

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