Title: Thoughts on Giving (1)
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15


Paul writes, “As you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all due diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace also.”

What’s Paul talking about here?


God has not called you to be a reservoir that stores up all His blessings for yourself, but a river that carries His blessing to others. 

Many Christians have learned how to get, but not give, {{firstname}}, perhaps this might even be you? Hmmm?

If you get into a posture of being a getting Christian without being a giving Christian, your life of faith will wither and die on the vine. 

There are two seas in Palestine, and both are fed by the Jordan River. 

One sea is fresh, brimming with life. 

Fish are in it, splashes of green adorn its and trees spread their branches over it, stretching out their thirsty roots to sip of its nourishing waters. 

But the other sea has no life at all. 

No fish can live in it. 

No one can drink of it for the water is foul and putrid. 

Yet both are fed by the Jordan River. 

What’s the difference? 

The Sea of Galilee receives water from the Jordan, but it also gives. 

For every drop that flows into it, another drop flows out of it. 

But the other sea hoards its water. 

Every drop it gets, it keeps. 

The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. 

The other sea gets and keeps, and it’s called the Dead Sea. 

Don’t miss the point here!

When you hoard and keep your blessings, to yourself, you die spiritually. 

But when you give generously, you come to life spiritually. 

So the question becomes which Sea are you? 

Want to know more on how you can tell? 

Then let’s see what God’s Word and Paul has to say on this matter…

8:1-4 Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.

Comments: [8:1]

You see, Paul, writing from Macedonia, hoped that news of the generosity of these churches would encourage the Corinthian believers and motivate them to solve their problems and unite in fellowship. 

Comments: [8:2-5]

But, during his third missionary journey, Paul had collected the money for the impoverished believers in Jerusalem. 

The churches in Macedonia – Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea – had given money even though they were poor, and they had sacrificially given more than Paul expected. 

Wait a minute here, you mean the poor churches are giving even though they are poor… Hmmm, what’s going on with this? 

Let’s continue to look at this… 

Although they were poor themselves, they wanted to help. 

I certainly wish all people had this type of gusto… just imagine how great a place this world would be. 

The amount we give is not as important as why and how we give.

So, here is the question, “What is in your heart when you are giving through your offerings, your time, and everything you give?” But, are you even giving for that matter? Isn’t it time you examine your reasoning and your giving? Or, don’t you feel you have to give? If so, you are certainly on the wrong path with this one. 

God does not want us to give grudgingly. 

Instead, He wants us to give as these churches did – out of dedication to Christ, our love for fellow believers, the joy of helping those in need, as well as the fact that it was simply good and the right thing to do. 

How well does your giving measure up to the standards set by the Macedonian churches? By now I’m sure you have not even come close to giving at the level you should in every aspect of your life. Where are you failing? Isn’t it time to make a change? 

[Comments: 8:3-6]

You see, the Kingdom of God spreads through believers’ concern and eagerness to help others. 

Here we see several churches joining forces to help others beyond their own circle of friends and their own city. (By, the way, this is where our Chaplaincy team can help you and  your church).

Explore the many ways you might link up with ministries outside your city, either through your church or through letting us help you achieve greatness in your church ministry in this growth. 

By joining with other believers to do God’s work, you increase Christian unity and help the Kingdom to grow. 

5-7 This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives. That’s what prompted us to ask Titus to bring the relief offering to your attention, so that what was so well begun could be finished up. You do so well in so many things—you trust God, you’re articulate, you’re insightful, you’re passionate, you love us—now, do your best in this, too.

8-9 I’m not trying to order you around against your will. But by bringing in the Macedonians’ enthusiasm as a stimulus to your love, I am hoping to bring the best out of you. You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.

[Comments: 8:7-8]

The Corinthian believers excelled in everything – they had faith, gifted speakers, knowledge, enthusiasm, and love. 

Paul encouraged them to also excel in the grace of giving. 

Too often, stewardship of money is given a different status than other aspects of discipleship. 

Most believers would not want growth in faith, knowledge, or love to stop at a certain level. 

But, here is the problem… your giving level does not equal your level of faith… if you truly believe, why are you limiting yourself in your giving? What is holding you back? (Now, don’t use the excuse of I don’t have enough money or time… this truly a farce and you are holding yourself back if you are believing this way. Let a member of our Chaplaincy team show you how you can overcome all of this and more).

You see, many people decide a fixed percentage of their money to give and stay there for life. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you know how many blessings you are holding yourself back from by doing this? 

True discipleship includes growing in the mature use of all resources including time, money, manpower, the many things God has provided you with, and much more… the question is, “How creative can you get?” If you are not utilizing the many things God has given you, then you once again are limiting yourself of all the awesome things God can do for you and those you know. 

This means that your giving should expand as well. 

God can give you the desire and enable you to increase your capacity to give. After all, nothing is impossible with Christ who strengthens you. 

Don’t miss this opportunity for growth. 

[Comments: 8:9]

There is no evidence that Jesus was any poorer than most first century Palestinians; rather, Jesus became poor by giving up His rights as God and becoming human. 

In His incarnation, God voluntarily became human – the person Jesus of Nazareth. 

As a man, Jesus was subject to place, time, and other human limitations. 

He did not give up His eternal power when He became human, but He did set aside His glory and His rights (see Philippians 2:5-7).

In response to the Father’s will, He limited His power and knowledge. 

Christ became “poor” when He became human because He set aside so much. 

Yet by doing so, He made us “rich” because we received salvation and eternal life. 

What made Jesus humanly unique was His freedom from sin.

In Jesus we can see every attribute of God’s character (see John 1:1-14; Romans 1:2-5; Philippians 2:6-11; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 2:14; and John 1:1-13).

10-20 So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. As it is written,

Nothing left over to the one with the most,

Nothing lacking to the one with the least.

I thank God for giving Titus the same devoted concern for you that I have. He was most considerate of how we felt, but his eagerness to go to you and help out with this relief offering is his own idea. We’re sending a companion along with him, someone very popular in the churches for his preaching of the Message. But there’s far more to him than popularity. He’s rock-solid and trustworthy. The churches handpicked him to go with us as we travel about doing this work of sharing God’s gifts to honor God as well as we can, taking every precaution against scandal.

[Comments: 8:10-15]

The Christians in the Corinthian church had money, and apparently they had planned to collect money for the Jerusalem church a year previously (see 2 Corinthians 9:2). 

Paul challenged them to act on their plans. 

Four principles of giving emerge here: 

  1. Your willingness to give enthusiastically is more important than the amount you give.
  2. You should strive to fulfill your financial commitments. 
  3. If you give to others in need, they will, in turn, help you when you are in need. 
  4. You should give as a response to Christ, not for anything you can get out of it. 

How you give reflects your devotion to Christ. 

[Comments: 8:12]

How do you decide how much to give? 

What about differences in the financial resources Christians have?

Paul gives the Corinthian church several principles to follow:

  1. Each person should follow through on previous promises (2 Corinthians 8:10-11; 9:3).
  2. Each person should give as much as they are able (2 Corinthians 8:12; 9:6)
  3. Each person should determine how much to give (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  4. Each person should give in proportion to what God has given them (2 Corinthians 9:10)

God gives to us so that we can give to others, not hoard things for ourselves which causes negative things to happen in our lives and the blessings we were to receive to be turned off as God removes His hand from us. 

[Comment 8:12]

Paul says that we should give of what we have, not of what we don’t have. 

Sacrificial giving must be responsible. 

Paul wants believers to give generously, but not to the extent that those who depend on the givers (their families, for example) must go without having their basic needs met. 

Give until it hurts, but don’t give so that it hurts your family and/or relatives who need your financial support.