The Privilege of Giving
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
When the offering plate is passed, do you enthusiastically support God’s work, or are you a reluctant giver? Just as our heavenly Father wants us to be full of faith, wisdom, and love, He also desires that we abound in gracious, cheerful generosity (2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Corinthians 9:7).
We could all learn from the Macedonian Christians of Paul’s day. Despite their own poverty, these believers begged for the privilege of giving to the needs of the Jerusalem church (2 Corinthians 8:4). They apparently saw the weekly offering the way God does—not as a separate event from the worship service but as an essential part of following Jesus.
For many believers, the tithe has been seen as the standard for giving. This concept originated in the Old Testament when Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils from battle (Gen. 14:18-20). Tithing, which was God’s requirement for the Israelites, was like a national tax. In fact, the nation had three tithes—one for support of the priests and Levites (Num. 18:24), one for the temple and feasts (Deut. 14:22-27), and one given every three years to benefit the poor (Deut. 14:28-29). Today this would be equivalent to our offerings that pay the pastors and staff, provide for the ministry and maintenance of the church, and help those in financial need.
Abounding in generosity looks different for each person. What’s important is that giving is voluntary (2 Corinthians 8:8), modeled after Christ’s example (2 Corinthians 8:9), motivated by a desire to give (2 Corinthians 8:10), and based on what one has (2 Corinthians 8:12). As you give yourself fully to the Lord, generosity will overflow.