I have a saying that I use with my family whenever they thank me for doing something for them. I say, “I Live to Give”. Although I have expressed this sentiment sarcastically at times, I really do try to live out this motto as much as I can by the grace of God. As a parent you often wonder if what you’re doing makes any kind of impact on your children. Are they getting it? They see the best and worst of us at times and you hope that they see Christ in us when it really matters most. Last Christmas,
Amy and I were awakened very early out of a deep sleep by our youngest child, Benjamin. He was so excited about this day and he just couldn’t stand it any more. We all, sleepy eyed, made our way downstairs where we prepared to commence with the opening of presents. At that time Benjamin asked if he could go first. I honestly expected that as he is still considered in some ways the baby of the family. What happened next was completely unexpected though. He ran to the tree and pulled out all of the presents he had wrapped for us and gave them to each of us. Amy and I looked at each other with a tear in our eyes realizing that he had learned the wonderful truth that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
In 2 Cor. 9, Paul is expressing a similar feeling. He, like a father to the Corinthians, begins the chapter by telling them he has been bragging on them to everyone he talks to because of their willingness to take up a collection to help the poor saints in Jerusalem. In the second half of the chapter, he takes the time to exhort them on the importance of giving and what attitude they should have toward it. He gives them 3 keys to effective kingdom giving:
- They should give bountifully – Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
- They should give deliberately – Each one must give as he has decided in his heart.
- They should give freely – Not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Paul then goes on to remind them that if they will be willing to be these kind of givers God will provide for them what they need for their lives and especially when it comes to giving them the ability to continue to give to meet the needs of others. The end result of this is that God would ultimately receive all of the glory for their ability to give and for the provision for those who so desperately needed it. I know that one of the truths greatly distorted mostly by TV preachers is that you give in order to get. That is the furthest thing from Paul’s mind. If there were any doubt about it, he finishes his exhortation by reminding them of what they’ve already been given in Jesus, Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
Ask yourself this week a simple question, Do you live to give?