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Title: Christianity And Giving_2
Below is the concluding part of this article. The first part can be downloaded from our website with the address: www.crossandcrownchristianministry.org.
Like in many areas of human endeavour, giving remains a very prominent act in the Christian religion. Not only is it encouraged as an act that should exist between fellow believers, but is also presented as a divine injunction that is necessary to reap some form of reward in the course of worship.
Christianity seems to accept every aspect of the definition of the act of giving, which remains the free transfer of ownership and control of something from one to another, but with the biblical tint added.
The Almighty God had Himself led the act of giving when in a manner that seems like that of a responsible father, voluntarily gave the control of the entire garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil to man (Gen. 2:15-17) and held on to what he did not want to give. The attempt by man to take what the owner was not willing to give, irrespective of the relationship they shared did not go down well with the owner who instantly expressed His disapproval of such act by the people he had voluntarily given His love – Gen. 3:6-19. Despite His expression of disapproval of this action of man, he still went ahead to voluntarily give care by providing quality covering for man – Gen. 3:21. He did not stop there as he continued to express concern for man in His intense desire to return man to the comfort he wished for him at creation which culminated in his giving His only son as a restitution for sin – Jn. 3:16. Even that act by the son further demonstrated the act of proper giving, as he himself admitted that he gave his life voluntarily and it was not the case that he was forced to give it – Jn. 10:18.
The Almighty God despite knowing that all that man possesses was given to man freely advocated through His son that man should also give freely (Matt. 10:5-8), just as the Apostle Paul in his request for help, sent to the church in Corinth, added the caveat that the act of giving must not be forced:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2Cor. 9:7.
This advice of the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Corinth provides a proper foundation for discussing the Christian perspective to this great and rewarding human act. The Apostle Paul in his attempt at encouraging the act of giving sees it as an act of generosity, which is the willingness to give more than is necessary or even expected. Using the church in Macedonia as reference, he testimony about their act of giving which bordered on generosity (2Cor. 8:1-5) can be summarised as follows:
1. They gave as much as they were able.
2. They exceeded all expectations with what they gave.
3. They gave entirely on their own, that is voluntarily.
4. They saw giving as a service and privilege of sharing.
5. They separated giving to the Lord from giving to His servants with priority being giving to the Lord.
Paul in what he clearly stated was not a command (2Cor. 8:8), advised the Christians in Corinth and probably all Christians to make this the guiding principles for giving and in addition, ensure that they excel in this grace of giving just as they strive to do in every other aspect of their Christian life – 2Cor. 8:7. He made it clear that all gifts will be acceptable according to what one has once it was done willingly (2Cor. 8:10-12) adding that the intention behind giving was not to relieve others at the expense of the comfort of the giver but to use the present plenty of the giver to provide for the needs of those who do not have in exchange for accessing the plenty that the receivers have, which will in turn take care of the present lack if the giver. That way according to him, there will be some form of equality (2Cor. 8:13-15) implying that the intention of Christian giving is not to create an imbalance but a form of exchange of services.
Paul advises that preparation must be made for the act of giving so as to prevent it from being an act done grudgingly and concluded his advisory with the scripture earlier referenced wherein he emphasised the need to give according to what each purposes in his/her heart and not what one is coerced or blackmailed to give since only the cheerful giver will receive the recognition of the Lord – Lk. 21:1-4.
Christians must realise that giving remains one of the greatest secrets of receiving. The chances of anyone who plans to receive anything improves if such is a giver. The Bible says that when you give, you will be given in a measure much greater than what you gave – Lk. 6:38. Learn to give but also watch what you give so that you do not experience the negative backlash of the act of giving.
A Christian who does not give should not expect to receive and may end up with only what he/she has in a life that looks stagnant. Christian growth will require that you give to grow. Everyone has something to give so look into your life and see what quality you can give to others so that you can also grow. You need to give to grow.
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