Matters of Faith: Giving According to What You Have!

2 CORINTHIANS‬ ‭8:12-13‬ ‭AMP‬‬‬‬‬‬
“For if the eagerness [to give] is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. For it is not [intended] that others be relieved [of their responsibility] and that you be burdened [unfairly], but that there be equality [in sharing the burden] …”

In last week’s article, I argued that the Bible was and is the key that opens doors of physical, spiritual and emotional blessings. I really believe that this is true, so this week I want to look at one of the most difficult biblical topics of discussion; the theology of giving.

Tithes and offerings, benevolence, building fund, and sacrificial giving are all terms used in the church when referring to giving. But the question that’s often asked when discussing any kind of giving is, “What if I don’t have it?” I’m not talking about the rebellious people who have it and refuse to give it, but those who want to give and feel bad because they just don’t have it.

The question then becomes, “How do you determine what you should give and from where will it come?

In the text, Paul is writing to the Corinthian church to compliment and to encourage them. He tells them that it was good that they desired to give, but now they needed to come through on their commitment. They were certainly encouraged when he tells them that they should fulfill that commitment according to what they had, not what they didn’t have. Everyone could and should give proportionately according to their means, for it is true that no one can give what they don’t have.

The Corinthian church should give because they wanted to, not because they were commanded to. When giving is from a willing heart, giving is a spiritual gift. A desire and willingness to give is recognition of God’s blessings so that a blessing can be extended to others. Paul encouraged them by sharing the blessings that were received from the Macedonian saints. Then he shares the greatest gift given to mankind, Jesus Christ who discarded the riches of heaven to take on the poverty of humanity, all so that we can become heirs to the heavenly kingdom.

But let me reiterate and make this clear, Paul is not telling them to give what they required for their own needs, but out of their ability. Not everyone can give the same amount, but everyone can give something. Not equal gifts, but equal sacrifice. The Old Testament tells us that a 10% tithe levels the giving field. It is not the size nor the amount, but the willingness to give that counts in God’s divine plan.

In the Jewish tradition, a beggar does the giver a favor by giving him an opportunity to perform “tzedakah” (charity). It is not merely of generosity but seen as an act of justice and righteousness. It is an obligation that must be done. Maybe we should all practice tzedakah.

As God has blessed us, we need to be a blessing to others. And not just monetarily. We have to give of everything we have because everything we have comes from God; “God has also given each of us different gifts to use. If we can prophesy, we should do it according to the amount of faith we have. If we can serve others, we should serve. If we can teach, we should teach. If we can encourage others, we should encourage them. If we can give, we should be generous. If we are leaders, we should do our best. If we are good to others, we should do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6-8 CEV). Let us give according to what we have.

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of uMatters of Faith: The Book at Book Blues.

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