Most Christians are prepared to acknowledge that we should give. But do we know why? Drawing from Paul’s practical encouragement to the Corinthian church, Alistair Begg reminds us that although generous giving brings its own rewards, this should never be the incentive for our generosity. Because giving is an expression of our faith, it should be determined privately and prayerfully, not out of obligation or pity. In this way, we can give cheerfully even as God is glorified.
1Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, 2for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. 3But I am sending1 the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. 4Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. 5So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift2 you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.3
6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully4 will also reap bountifully. 7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency5 in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13By their approval of this service, they6 will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
The subject of giving is a sensitive matter—one that many preachers avoid, not wanting to put pressure on their flock. The Bible, however, is not silent on the matter, making clear that the stewardship of our money is actually a reflection of our theology. Some give out of pity, others grudgingly, and others in order to earn favor. But why should we give? How much should we give? To whom, how often, and in what manner? Such questions are both practical and personal. Thankfully, Scripture provides clear, helpful instruction.
In this series, Alistair Begg draws on Paul’s letters to the Corinthians to teach scriptural guidelines for giving purposefully, regularly, and cheerfully. Whether through an overflow of excess or genuine sacrifice, believers give to express our gratitude, declare our faith, bless God’s people, and win others to Him. Because God is the creator and provider of all that we have, our generosity is for His glory.
Prelude to Giving
2 Corinthians 8:7
Pattern For Giving
1 Corinthians 16:1-4
Principles in Giving
2 Corinthians 9:1-15
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