A panhandler asked a woman for money, and she dug in her purse and handed him a dollar bill. As she did, she admonished him, “I’ll give you a dollar—-not because you deserve it, but because it pleases me.” “Thank you, ma’am,” he replied, “but while you’re at it, why not make it a ten and thoroughly enjoy yourself!”
I think many of us give because it make us feel good. That’s a great reason. I think God has made giving a very rewarding activity.
Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to give to the poor saints in Jerusalem. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-12 we discover 7 principles of godly giving. I hope this helps you as you give.
1 – Giving is a response to God’s grace (2 Corinthians 8:1).
No other chapter in the Bible uses the word ‘grace’ more than 2 Corinthians 8. Grace is a word that denotes ‘joy, kindness, pleasure, delight, charm, loveliness.’ What a great word for God to apply to giving. We are able to give because of God’s grace. Then God gives us more grace when we do give.
2 – Give joyfully (2 Corinthians 8:2).
Paul used the Macedonian church as an example of godly giving. Though they were under great trial of affliction and deep poverty, they gave with abundant joy. They had every excuse to keep what they had. But they gave cheerfully. One way to give joyfully is to get involved in how your donations are being used. For example, as you give to missions play to take a missions trip.
3 – Give yourself to God first (2 Corinthians 8:5).
Giving money is a wonderful thing. But by itself there is very little in return. We must first give ourselves. God is not as interested in our money as He is our life. Giving does not begin with what you have. Giving begins with who you are. This is why the primary gift is to give God is your life.
4 – Give yourself to know God’s will (2 Corinthians 8:5).
Even in giving, seek to know and yield to the will of God. The Lord’s prayer reminds us to pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” It is important that we know and do God’s will. We must seek to know God’s will in all areas of our life. But in this chapter, Paul is encouraging Christians to know God’s will in the area of giving. What and to whom does God want you to give?
5 – Give out of a sincere love (2 Corinthians 8:8).
Paul is not teaching a mechanical giving. Our giving should be motivated out of love. I could coerce you, and beat you on the head with scriptures, and make you feel guilty, but there is a much better reason why you should give. Give for the same reason God gives. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son…” God gave out of love. Do you realize that the most you will ever be like God is when you give?
6 – Give in response to Christ’s giving (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Jesus is our supreme example in everything. Jesus gave His life for us. We should be willing to give whatever He wants for Him.
7 – Give as much as you are able, and even more (2 Corinthians 8:3, 11-12).
We are not to have a legalistic response to our giving. But when our faith responds to God’s grace, God’s power goes to work. We are able to give far more than we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
The very first person to reach the status of billionaire was a man who knew how to set goals and follow through. At the age of 23, had become a millionaire, by the age of 50 a billionaire. Every decision, attitude, and relationship was tailored to create his personal power and wealth.
But 3 years later at the age of 53 he became ill. His entire body became racked with pain, and he lost all the hair on his head. In complete agony, the world’s only billionaire could buy anything he wanted, but he could only digest milk and crackers. His personal, highly skilled physicians predicted he would die within a year.
That year passed agonizingly slow. As he approached death he awoke one morning with the remembrances of a dream. He could barely recall the dream but knew it had something to do with not being able to take anything with him into the next life. The man who could control the business world suddenly realized he was not in control of his own life. He was left with a choice.
He called his attorneys, accountants, and managers and announced that he wanted to channel his assets to hospitals, research and mission work. This new direction eventually led to the discovery of penicillin, cures for current strains of malaria, tuberculosis and diphtheria. The list of discoveries resulting from his choice is enormous.
But perhaps the most amazing part of Rockefeller’s story is that the moment he began to give back a portion of all that he had earned, his body’s chemistry was altered so significantly that he got better. It looked as if he would died at 53 but he lived to be 98. Rockefeller learned gratitude and doing so made him whole.