One of the things that Paul commended the Corinthians for was the fact that they excelled in many things. These included faith, speech, knowledge, earnestness and love. All of these things are important, but Paul says that giving is important also. His words were, “I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7 NLT). The Christian life is a balancing act in that we should be interested in ourselves and our own spiritual growth, as well as others and their spiritual growth and needs. It is more blessed for us to give than to receive (Acts 20:35) and there are times when others need our help. “Let us not grow weary in well doing” (Galatians 6:9 KJV). Giving is part of a Christian balancing act.
As we consider giving, we have a model that cannot be overlooked. It is the model of Jesus: “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” (2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV). When you find it hard to give up some of your possessions to help another, remember what Jesus did for you.
Paul reminded the Corinthians, “This benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it” (2 Corinthians 8:10 ESV). Giving for this need was not a “spur of the moment,” emotional decision. There had been a desire, followed by a plan that had been in effect for a year. In his earlier letter, Paul had suggested a way to make this plan happen when he said, “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come” (1 Corinthians 16:2 ESV). Paul was saying, “Think about it, make a plan for it and then carry out your plan.”
Our attitude is also important. Often you hear people talking about all the wonderful things they would do “If I just had the money.” God isn’t interested in that. He is interested in what you will do with the amount you have. He said, “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” (2 Corinthians 8:12 NKJV). We don’t need to fret over what we don’t have. God wants you to use what you have to the best of your ability.
When we keep these things in mind, tithing will not be the question. It will be, “What can I do?”
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