Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gleanings from the Pastor's Perspective: Perspectives on Giving

The Pastor’s Perspective
Vol. 29 Num. 9

During our “Commitment Sunday” services, we looked at Biblical principles for Christian giving. As there are many folk still preparing to hand in their pledge cards for the 1997 Church budget, perhaps it would be good to review those principles here. We saw in our study of four New Testament passages at least nine principles for Christian giving.
1. Christians will give. Jesus said to his disciples, “when you give” not “if you give” (Matthew 6:2)! Hence, Christian giving is not optional, but rather essential. 2. Christians must give for the right motives. Jesus warned his disciples not to give for the sake of being admired by men. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them,” He said (Matthew 6:1). 3. Christians should remember that they are giving to the all-seeing Father. Jesus said “When you give to the poor . . . in secret; your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4). Our reward in giving comes from our heavenly father. 4. Christian giving is an act of worship. We see this in Paul’s word’s “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save” (1 Corinthians 16:2). In other words, Paul sees the taking up of the collection for the needy as an act of worship which is a part of the regular Lord’s Day worship. 5. Christian giving should be done in light of the incarnation. Paul reminds us “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 through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Our giving is to be inspired and instructed by Christ’s inexpressible gift. 6. Christian giving should be done readily and according to our means. Paul is quite clear on this: “For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12). Put another way Paul is saying that you should give in proportion to what God has given you. He said it this way in 1 Corinthians 16:2 -- “each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper.” 7. The liberality of God’s blessings to us is connected to the liberality of our Christian giving. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” About this matter J.A. Beet once said: “They who in giving think, not how little they can give, as they would if self-enrichment were the aim, but of benefits to be conferred, will receive back on the same principle. As they do to others, so God will act to them.” 8. Christian giving must be willing giving, free giving. We learn this in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion.” 9. Christian giving ought to be cheerful giving. As Paul says “God loves a cheerful giver.”
May the floodgates of your generosity be opened wide for the sake of the Gospel and the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yours joyfully,

Ligon Duncan

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