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  • Why we give

    I know that I really don't have to tell you about taking care of the needs of ministers. I know your generosity and have told the Macedonians how your giving inspired the Achaians and others to give willingly.

    To show them I was not boasting, I have sent our brethren to gather your gifts so that all will see your generosity. This way when the Macedonians come, they will see I was not exaggerating.

    This is why I have sent them to you now, since I know your gifts are ready from the bounty of your blessings and not because we are checking up on you.

    As you already know, those who sow sparingly will reap sparingly, but those who sow in abundance will reap bountifully.

    So let every man among you give from the generosity of his heart, and not out of obligation, for the Lord loves a cheerful giver.

    God will reward you with even more blessings and you will have more than you need so that you will rise to even greater deeds to give God glory.

    The scripture says, He who has given to those he does not know has given to the poor; his good name and reputation will live on.

    So God who supplies both the bread you eat and the seeds you sow will multiply your crops and allow you to increase your gifts.

    You will be enriched by God, who knows your thanksgiving in prayers and in the witness of your charity.

    Your gifts not only supply the needs of the ministry, but are the cause of many prayers of thanks to our Lord, Jesus. Therefore your giving glorifies God in your witness and your commitment. Your charity is a witness to all men, both believers and non-believers.

    Their prayers for you speak to your grace in our Lord, Jesus. Thanks be to God for His wondrous gifts.

    Not for us, but for God

    Remember what I said in the comments on the last chapter? The gifts Paul is referring to here are contributions from the supporters, but with the clear knowledge they are giving of the abundance given from God. In other words, they are returning God's assets to Him in order for the ministry to flourish.

    I remember being at a Christian concert at a local church a few years back. Now these aren't ticketed events. The announcement is made to other churches in the area that the band will pay and a love offering will be taken. Sort of like passing the collection plate on Sunday. The band comes in not knowing if they will make enough to cover their expenses, relying on the Holy Spirit to provide what is needed for them to continue their ministry.

    This particular concert had an opening act, and just before the main band came up, one of our elders got up behind the microphone and talked about tithing and gifts. He spoke of how he used to give a couple of dollars, thinking that was enough. But then he listened to the Spirit and let Him guide his hand when it was time to contribute. At the end of the concert, more than quadruple the amount usually collected had been placed in the buckets that were passed around. Not only did the band collect enough to cover their expenses, but enough to care for their families and plan to go a few places they normally could not have gone. Their ministry was expanded, and the Lord was glorified by their ministry.

    I think we all have a tendency to do our budget based on our bills, then our tithes to church or other causes we support. Since the money doesn't belong to us in the first place, isn't it more appropriate to turn that around? I'm not saying we should ignore our bills or the needs of our family, but since the income is a blessing from God, shouldn't we give Him first consideration?

    Paul was trying to explain this to the Corinthians, so they would understand how important giving is.

    I hope you are having a blessed and glorious day.

    Fred
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