It can be so easy for us to promise to give to God or to the Church or to other Christian causes; but when it comes time to keep our promise, to write out the check, our enthusiasm can quickly dwindle. This, perhaps, may have been the case with the Corinthian Church.
As Christians, we must not forget the warning of the wise man (Solomon) in the Bible–to approach God with care. In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon gives a helpful insight on how we can guard our feet or walk prudently with God. He says: “As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few . . . for when you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, because God takes no pleasure in fools. You must keep all the promises you make to Him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and He might wipe out everything you have achieved . . . Fear God instead” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7).
The above referenced passage, obviously, gives us insight as to why Apostle Paul urged the Corinthian Church to finish what they had begun–that is, the promise they earlier made to collect money for the suffering believers in Jerusalem.
As we have discovered, one way we can show our love for God is by giving our time and money to support His work. We have also come to the understanding (based on our study of 2 Corinthians 8:1-15), that it doesn’t matter how much we give–but what matters is the motive behind our giving. As Paul made known to the Corinthians, believers today should gladly give back to God what He has given us. Once we realize that we owe everything we have to God, it is easy for us to give as much as we can to His work. Besides, it’s important to give to God on a regular basis, too.
Sometimes we feel generous and give a one-time gift to a ministry, and then we think we’ve done our share. To some extent, this is wrong. God is steady in His giving to us, so we should be steady in our giving to Him. In addition, God does not want us to give grudgingly; instead, He wants us to give as the Churches in Macedonia did–out of dedication to Christ, love for fellow believers, the joy of helping those in need, as well as the fact that it was simply the good and right thing to do.
To avoid the situation of not fulfilling our promises, there are four steps we can take to maintain our enthusiasm when we give:
- First, we have to realize that how we give matters more than how much we give. In other words, an attitude of cheerful giving is more important than the amount given. Obviously, the amount we give is not as important as why and how we give.
- Second, we should always budget for giving. In other words we should control our spending habits so that after we give to God, we will have enough left over to meet all of our financial obligations. That way we will not have to go back on our word in order to pay our bills.
- Third, we must realize that material wealth will not bring eternal satisfaction. However, wealth can be used to glorify God and lay up treasures in heaven, both of which will bring us eternal satisfaction (see Matthew 6:19-21).
- Fourth, we must give as a service to Christ, not as a way of obligating others to give back to us (otherwise it’s not giving at all). If we promise to give, we must do it. If we can give anything at all, we should give it. The amount isn’t the issue. The motivation and attitude is (see Ecclesiastes 5:1-7).
- Like the Corinthians, we should follow through on our financial commitments. Our giving must be generous, sacrificial, well planned, and based on need. Our generosity should not only help those in need, but should enable them to thank God–therefore, God’s work should be supported by His people. In addition, believers should take the lead in helping the needy, feeding the hungry, and curing the sick. We should give generously to support our local Church and God’s work all over the world and look for ways to reach out to needy folks in our communities.
Overall, giving should be done out of the right motivation and in the right way. In other words, we (the Church) should always remember that our motives are important and therefore should offer ourselves to God first (2 Corinthians 8:5). This is a sign that everything we have and all we can do belongs to God.
As we prosper, we should give proportionately (see 2 Corinthians 8:11-12), systematically (1 Corinthians 16:2), generously (2 Corinthians 8:2-3), sacrificially (Luke 21:3-4), voluntarily and joyfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). As we give, God will give to us and others are helped because of our financial help. We should bear in mind that our generosity not only helps those in need but it enables them to thank God. Finally, we should ask ourselves this question, “How well does our giving measure up to the standards set by the Macedonian Churches?”
Bibliography: CEV Study Bible; Ilumina Encyclopedia; Berkley, Leadership Handbook of Management & Administration; Frank J. Schmitt, A Practical Introduction to Church Administration.
© 2013-2017 . Ike Ozuome Ministries . All Rights Reserved.