Giving is a Grace
Leadership in Context with Keith Tucci
Over the next few weeks, I am going to systematically go through 2 Corinthians, chapters 8 and 9. These are the two largest texts in the Bible that deal with money. Everyone who has a testimony has had their “mony” tested.
Money Principle #1: Giving is a Grace
2 Corinthians 8:1-7
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. So, we urged Titus that as he had previously made a beginning, so he would also complete in you this gracious work as well. But just as you abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love, we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also.
This passage is not referring to tithing. Tithing is not something we give; it is something that belongs to God. We begin to give after our tithe. This reference is in regards to special offerings to churches that are in need.
Verse 1: To the grace given to the churches of Macedonia.
The word “grace” or “graciousness” appears several times in this text. This teaches us that giving is empowered by grace. People who claim to be walking in grace are abundant givers. Believers who don’t give aren’t giving because they can’t give. It has nothing to do with their checkbook balance or how much money they make. They are in bondage and can’t give because they are not flowing in grace.
Verse 2: Their great affliction resulted in an abundance of joy that was their poverty that equaled liberality.
This is one of the many Kingdom equations we will find in this text and is probably one of the greatest Kingdom equations found in the New Testament. They were afflicted. They were persecuted. They had things going wrong in their lives—just like you and I do. But in spite of that, there was an abundance of joy. (Remember, joy and happiness are two different things.) They were in poverty. But despite that, it overflowed into liberal giving. That is grace.
If we understand that giving is a grace, then we should not treat people with disrespect or judge them by denying them the opportunity to give. In the natural, it might appear that they do not have abundant resources, but that does not measure their heart and how much they have and want to give.
At the last church I pastored, during the last year I was there, I did an analysis of our giving. 25% of our tithes were given by people who were single mothers, widows, or single income families. In other words, they were people who would be considered to be in poverty by today’s standards. They were excited to give and were prospering because they were givers.
Verse 3: I testified (a first-hand report) that according to their ability, and beyond their ability they gave with one accord.
Notice in verse 1, it says that the grace was given to the church, not just individuals. There was a corporate grace, a corporate anointing. I believe that generosity is contagious. I believe that giving can become a culture. How do you give beyond your ability? By the grace of God. We want to live beyond our natural circumstances and teach others to do this. One of the ways we teach them to do this is by giving beyond their natural circumstances.
Verse 4: Begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in support of the saints.
They were oppressed, in poverty, persecuted, and yet they were begging to give money. In the Old Testament, when Moses took an offering for the building, he had to tell people to stop giving because he was getting too much gold and silver. Wouldn’t you like to have that problem? Wouldn’t you like to have that culture? The church should be an example to the world of God’s economy.God is a Creator who doesn’t have to take it away from one person to give to another.
Side Note: Don’t apologize for taking an offering.
Grace sees giving as an opportunity, not as an obligation. As a spiritual leader, we need to give people the opportunity to give. There are pastors who act like they are doing something wrong if they are receiving an offering. Why apologize for something God commanded us to do? We act like the teaching in the Scripture is unholy. Only the love of money is unholy. The use of money is very holy. Grace sees giving as an opportunity. If you are flowing in vision, not just need, you are going to present the opportunity to give in a graceful way.
Giving is a grace. We should be excited about it. If you are not excited about giving or talking about giving, it’s because you are lacking grace. Next week we will pick up the discussion with Principle #2: Giving is a Spiritual Standard.
Join us next week as Keith Tucci continues to put leadership truth in the context of the local church. And as always, please like, share, rate/review, and invite others to listen. See you next week!