As most churches like ours enter into “budget season”—that time of year where we review the past year’s giving and financial plan and prayerfully consider what the Lord may have for next year—may this short study over giving and generosity be a reminder to all of us about our joyful responsibility to the Lord in this area.
1. Acts of generosity that glorify God are a result of his grace (2 Cor. 8:1-5).
Despite facing severe trials and extreme poverty, the Thessalonians generously gave, thanks to the grace bestowed upon them. Their service to others is a reflection of God's service to them. The Macedonians' dedication to the Lord in giving is rooted in the grace they received.
2. All giving should be infused with grace.
Throughout 2 Corinthians, the term "grace" (charis) is used in various contexts, emphasizing divine enablement, human privilege, monetary gifts, gratitude, and divine favor. Grace is not just a “pie-in-the-sky” concept - but a divine blessing that sustains and empowers believers to us to glorify God..
3. Giving that glorifies God can grow lots even amid poverty and affliction (2 Cor. 8:1-5).
Financial stress often turns attention inward, fostering self-pity and envy. The Macedonians, however, exemplify joy in God, overcoming their own troubles to generously give. God's grace remains available for such giving today.
4. Giving that magnifies God's glory is rooted in the gospel (2 Cor. 8:9).
Paul directs attention to the liberating truth: Jesus, though rich, became poor for our sake. This gospel truth motivates our hearts to break free from greed and embrace generous giving.
5. Giving that magnifies God is balanced, not percentage-based (2 Cor. 8:12).
Paul advises Corinthians to give according to their means. While not beyond means, it is permissible. This principle discourages going into debt for contributions.
6. God-glorifying giving must be voluntary, not forced (2 Cor. 9:1-5).
Paul urges voluntary, willing giving, avoiding pressure or compulsion. He desires heart-felt contributions, not forced or grudging offerings.
7. Generous giving leads to an abundant return (2 Cor. 9:6).
While bountiful giving results in abundant returns, Paul clarifies that it's not for personal hoarding but for continued generous giving.
8. God loves cheerful, glad-hearted, and free givers (2 Cor. 9:7).
Motivation matters in giving. Deliberate, joyful, and voluntary contributions, devoid of reluctance, please God. Cheerful givers rejoice in God's goodness.
9. Giving that glorifies God receives in order to give more (2 Cor. 9:8-11).
Paul addresses fears about generosity, assuring that God abundantly supplies generous givers for continued acts of kindness. The purpose is not personal wealth - but increased capacity for generous giving to others.