2 Corinthians 8-9
The TRUTH of God’s Word must be shared. It’s urgent. We see so many Christians, so many churches, stepping away from God’s Word, and the result is evident today in our ever increasingly perverted society. It is frightening.
Christians are leaving churches where the Gospel is preached, and are attending the churches that make them feel good, make them feel spiritual and religious. They don’t have to repent of sin. Sin is never addressed because someone thinks it’s offensive to tell someone they are wrong, it’s not loving if you don’t accept and include everyone.
Good churches are closing their doors for lack of members and financial support. Worthless churches are seemingly bulging at the seams, their pastors driving Mercedes and living in luxury.
I know that’s a broad generalization. I know that’s not true in every mega-church. But you and I both know that is the case way too often.
Paul is thanking the Corinthians for their financial support of the church in Jerusalem. Their support to the ministry is invaluable for a couple of reasons.
So two things will result from this ministry of giving – the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God. As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. (verses 12-13)
The needs of the people are met AND God is glorified in the process. Win. Win.
Every year our church takes up a Lottie Moon offering for foreign missions in the SBC. Our pastor encourages us to pray that God will give each of us a number, an amount He is asking each of us to give as individuals, and then to be obedient to give what God has laid on our hearts. That’s different than me looking at my bank statement and coming up with an amount I think fits.
It’s easy for me to throw in a few dollars, and feel like I’ve contributed to this important ministry. Then I hear God say:
Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly, And give according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have. (verses 11b-12)
Ouch. That number just went up.
I am not saying that giving money should replace my responsibility to go and make disciples of the people in my life. But I hear God remind me of the responsibility and privilege I have of supporting those who are making disciples around the world, too.
I am also reminded of the responsibility and privilege of financially supporting my local church, to write that monthly check joyfully and eagerly, sacrificially without strings attached, out of what I have, not out of what I don’t have.
(Are we to give that 10 percent out of the gross or net? Is 10 percent my limit so that I am operating just barely in the black on my church-giving ledger? Or should we throw out the 10 percent and, like the widow, give all we have? Or something in between? The debate goes on.)
If the Church is going to survive, and I would assume most of you reading this believe it is important that it does, then along with our prayers, our service, our witness, our worship, it will increasingly need our money.
“But,” you say, “inflation has taken a chunk out of my income and expenses.”
It’s taken a chunk out of the church’s finances, too.
Can you trust God with your finances? Read what Paul has to say about that here in his letter to the Corinthians.
I think the question we all need to ask ourselves is, “What is my salvation worth in dollars and cents?”
Can you put a price on what Jesus did for you there on the cross? He died so that all people can have the opportunity to have their sins forgiven, and enjoy a relationship with Him forever.
How much is that worth?