Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Giving Thing - June 23, 2015

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (New International Reader's Version)6 Here is something to remember. The one who plants only a little will gather only a little. And the one who plants a lot will gather a lot.

7 You should each give what you have decided in your heart to give. You shouldn't give if you don't want to. You shouldn't give because you are forced to. God loves a cheerful giver.

There are many in this world and in the church that have the wrong idea about the subject of giving. Many refuse to go to church or have even quit attending church because they feel that the church is just after their money. Yes, some are, and that is why it is important to be very discerning when choosing a church to attend. The bigger problem though is that the "world" leads those who are of the world to believe that churches only exist for the money.

Let me share an interesting side note, while we are talking about this. I have several family members who are German citizens, and they have grown up in a very secular, post-Christian environment(which could be our future if we do not get more involved in the culture). Just as our government requires the withholding of monies from our paychecks for Taxes, Social Security and Medicare, the German citizen is subject to a special Church Tax that goes to maintain the country's churches. (Most of these churches have ended up just being Museums really, but there is a small remnant of believers who faithfully attend services.) Because of this special Church Tax, many Germans are very resentful of church, Christianity and religion in general. All this to say, that forced giving never does anything to help others or further sharing God's love for this world.

Paul, writing under the inspiration of God's Spirit, sought to clarify God's heart on giving, in his second letter to the Corinthian church. He sought commend them for their past giving and to encourage them to continue to give more to less fortunate believers. He was not ordering them to give, but he was revealing to them that God believes that good gifts are those that are freely given, from the compassionate heart of the believer. We are to give whatever we want to give, making sure it is done willingly and cheerfully.

If we reflect on our own lives, God has showered us tremendously with good gifts, not only the gift of His own Son, but also everything else that we have. While we consider giving as a part living for God, let us joyfully consider giving to others as an appropriate response to what He has generously given us.

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