This week we enter the month of December and the Christmas season—a time when gifts and gift giving become a major theme of our lives. We struggle to determine who we should give to, how much we should spend, and what the perfect gift would be. Gifts and giving is also a major theme of the Bible. James 1.17 tells us that “every good and perfect gift” is from God.
Read 2 Corinthians 9.6–15.
In this passage, Paul gives some practical advice to the church in Corinth about how they can invest their resources in the lives of those around them. There are a few principles for how we should approach giving that we can learn from this passage.
1. Give Joyfully (verses 7 and 15)
The primary consideration regarding giving is the heart of the giver. Our giving should never be out of guilt or compulsion. In Jesus, God gave us an indescribably gracious gift. When we respond to His grace gratefully, we can give joyfully.
2. Give Churchly
Paul recognized that the Church is God’s “plan A” for restoring the world. While it’s great to give gifts to one another as we celebrate Christmas, it’s important to remember that the reason we celebrate is that Jesus came to extend His gracious gift to those who are far from Him. This should influence the direction of our giving during every season of the year.
3. Give Generously (verse 6)
When we give generously, it isn’t about how little we should give, but how much we can give. It isn’t about a tithe or an amount we should give; it’s a journey of growing increasingly generous in what we give.
4. Give Expectantly (verses 6 and 10)
Paul reminds us that if we are willing to sow (give) generously, we will also reap generously. At times this may be a direct blessing that we receive from God. More importantly, God will use our generous investment in His kingdom to bring about a generous eternal harvest.
- What makes it hard for you to give joyfully?
- What has God done in your life for which you are grateful?
- What is your purpose for giving? Consider both gifts and churchly giving.
- Consider the giving continuum: First-Time; Occasional; Intentional; Tithing; Extravagant. Where do you find yourself on the continuum? What could you do to move to the next step in the journey of giving?
- How has God provided or given back when you stepped out in your giving?