Friday, 19 May 2023
“Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. “-2 Corinthians 8:12 [NLT]
Out of all the Christian graces, one thing stands out – the grace in giving. All along the church history, we can see how this grace has developed and brought in abundance of thanksgiving and appreciation to the Lord of glory. Christian character being rooted in love, can only reciprocate by showing forth this love through giving materially to the one in need. Even though in many parts of the world Christians are not directly accepted but their giving is accepted. It has even helped a lot to open ways to approach people groups because they see the love expressed through this kind of giving and helping out.
Roots of Christian giving:
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." (2 Cor. 8:9) This truly blesses every Christian soul with immeasurable riches of heavenly blessings. "…who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Eph.1:3) As one is blessed immeasurably and is overflowing, then one need to see ways to give it out so that others can also be blessed. This again is because of the great love of God to be shed across our hearts. This shining light in our hearts will surely create its ripples across our being and it will make its effect in all our actions. Hence we respond tenderly and in love. One way of our sincere actions is by giving.
Effects of Giving:
The first effect is that of a balancing and levelling effect, which we see in the following verses:
"…but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality." (2 Cor. 8:14)
"Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”" (Neh.8:10)
The second effect is that it brings in glory to God. Because we are His ambassadors in this world. Hence for the world to witness Him and His love, one of the ways for expressing it is by giving.
How to give:
Giving is good, but word of God gives us guidance about how to give:
· Give with joy and grace: 2 Cor 8:2 – "that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality."
· In sincere love. Without love there is no Christian giving: 2 Cor 8:8 – "I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others."
· We should give according to the resources God has given at our disposal: 2 Cor 8:12 – "For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have."
Without graceful giving, Christian experiences are not complete. Hence the very essence of Christian giving is love. When our giving is grounded in the principle of Christ’s love in us, it produces the right fruit in others’ lives and we will see its result in eternity too.
Prayer: Dear Father, help me to give to others as you desire of me to give— without expecting anything in return. In Jesus name. Amen.