Friday, May 29, 2015

The Other Blessings of Giving

2 Corinthians 9:12-14 KJV
For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.

The apostle wants believers to give preparedly, bountifully and cheerfully. He had boasted about this congregation's generosity but did two things to improve what that generosity would produce:
·       He wrote this letter
·       He sent brethren ahead to prepare the offering "beforehand"

One part of his exhortation to give was to point out that there are blessings to our gifts other than (and I would insist greater than) the blessing of supplying the needs of others. Some of those benefits are:
The many thanksgivings to God they motivate
As one who has, for the past thirty years, lived of the generous gifts of God’s people as I have preached the Word of God I can attest that those who live off the Gospel never take for granted those gifts that provide for them. Every gift is a cause for us to give thanks God.

The rejoicing (toward God) your efforts to further the gospel inspire
That God has provided such people as those who give; that there are people who will give beyond themselves for the sake of the Gospel is heartwarming to us. We are thankful, but more than thankful, awestruck at the work of God in the hearts of men and women.

The prayers to God these who have benefitted from your gifts now offer to God for you
We who preach the Gospel and live off the Gospel receive those gifts thankfully. We in turn pray fervently for those who God has used to provide for us.

The affection for that that have been generated as a result of your generosity
I have more than thirty years worth of encounters with the generosity of people toward us.
·       People who gave us our first building to preach the gospel in.
·       People who sent gifts to us who had never met us, but who had only heard of our ministry. People who gave when I knew they had little to give.
·       People who were thrilled when God gave to them an amount that allowed them to give a large sum to the work of God.
·       People who were faithful givers week after week, month after month and year after year.
I have great affections and fond memories of those people.

No question that the generous and abundant gifts of the people of God for the ministry meets a very practical need. But I believe that is merely the foundational benefit of cheerful/faithful giving.  

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