It’s Better to Give
Read This Week: 2 Corinthians 8
In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:2-3, 9 NIV
How often do we hear the saying, “It is better to give than to receive”? The quote can come from Christians and unbelievers alike, even though it originates in the Scriptures themselves (Acts 20:35). It is a principle and truth that communicates the fulfillment found in a life of generosity, not acquisition. But for as much as we love the phrase, do we truly believe and practice it?
In 2 Corinthians chapter 8, Paul takes the opportunity to write about generosity. The Corinthians were not doing their part in giving to a relief offering that the churches were taking up for the poor in Judea. Like those in modern times, they had good intentions to give and had even made promises to do so, but they failed to keep them. A whole year had gone by without any significant contributions from the Corinthian church, and Paul found that to be unacceptable.
It is important to note, however, that Paul did not want the Corinthians to think he was forcing them to give. His writing intended to teach and inspire them by reinforcing spiritual principles through the examples of Jesus and others who were motivated by love in their giving. Paul wanted them to know that love and grace are at the heart of real stewardship and generosity, and he shows the evidence of that type of giving. He asserts that if we are driven by the love of Christ and God’s grace:
- We give despite our circumstances (8:1-2)
- We give with enthusiasm (8:3-4)
- We give willingly (8:10-12)
- We give by faith (8:13-24)
- We give out of a desire to serve others (8:16-17)
- We give as Jesus gave (8:5-9)
The best evidence for us to follow is that of Jesus Christ. He is always our standard of giving in service and sacrifice. Verse 9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
Like Jesus, if we give ourselves to God and his mission, we will have little problem being generous. If we give ourselves to God and his mission, we won’t have an issue giving our stuff away or utilizing our resources to help others. If we love God and understand his grace, it will be better to give than receive and virtually impossible not to offer ourselves to His service or ignore the needs of our neighbors.
In reading this chapter this week I was reminded to be a cheerful giver. God said to me I want you to see it as a privilege to give. I want you to give yourself to Me. Giving is a work of My grace in you. Giving is getting involved. Your giving should be like My giving of grace to you, giving freely and generously because you want to give. Your giving should be offered without expectations of payment in return. I judge your giving against what resources you have. The issue of what and how you spend is relevant to what you have. If you overspend and never have anything to give, you can’t excuse it. When you give I look for readiness and a willing mind. True giving is measured by obedience, proportion, and need. Giving must be generous, freely given, and cheerful.
What this said to me is God was reminding me I have been guilty of not spending wisely so I let that affect my tithe at times in the past. My tithe should come first before I pay anything else. I also need to be cheerful and generous to give. At times I gave with the mindset I would be financially blessed back. That should never be my motive. Father God I am so sorry and I repent for not making tithing a priority in the past and for not always having the right motive. I realize that I want to see giving as a privilege .Giving is a work of Your grace in me. I am so blessed to be Your daughter.
I agree cheerfulness is an often overlooked and undervalued nuance of giving, Kathy. It is possible to give generously but not give enthusiastically yet the Bible is clear that “God loves a cheerful giver.” I personally think a joyful giver is more indicative of a heart for Jesus and one that understands the grace that was given to them.
2 Corinthians 8:5 says, “Nor [was this gift of theirs merely the contribution] that we expected, but first, they gave themselves to the Lord and to us [as His agents] by the will of God [[a]entirely disregarding their personal interests, they gave as much as they possibly could, having put themselves at our disposal to be directed by the will of God].”
For me, Giving has been a process since the day I gave my life to Jesus. over the years I have learned how important it is to give tithes and offerings to help those in need. It’s important to do life with God, Giving has so many meanings. God has blessed me from the start with people who helped me with their time to teach me the ways of the Lord. I am thankful to God for giving me the best.
I have learned over the years to ask God what He wants me to do, and how can I help others. If I’m not able to help, I seek out places that can help them, or give them the info so they can get help. It’s important to be open, willing, caring and be directed by the will of God while you’re doing it. That’s what it is all about. All the work we do, giving to others, giving our time, helping others, being eager to do it, do it with God so people can see His Love for them through you. When you’re so thankful to be a part of the family of God, you just want to go out and love others for Him. You feel like you just want to do more and more because it’s a wonderful life with Jesus.
I feel like God is saying through this chapter: “In life, there will be trials, tribulations, issues. Don’t panic, don’t worry, don’t get into anxiety because I AM with you. Stay close to Me, seek Me with your whole heart. I have given you gifts to bless others with My love. I give you opportunities to give in so many ways. Learn them, and know that your my daughter, my son, and I know your needs before you even ask Me. Trust Me, rely on Me, reach out to others for me because it’s all about giving. Jesus gave His life for you so we could be together forever and ever. Giving should always be to help others to know how much I love them.”
I love how you combined spiritual formation and giving in your post, Heidi. I think the two go hand-in-hand. A generous person that gives out of the right motive (love for God and others) is almost always a person who is walking in step with the Lord. Personal devotion lays the foundation for personal expression.
This is illustrated perfectly when you said, “Stay close to Me, seek Me with your whole heart. I have given you gifts to bless others with My love. I show you opportunities to give in so many ways. Learn them…” The closeness to God and His heart, the recognizance of his generosity to us then leads to giving to and blessing others when we have the opportunity.
God gave me a word this week from 2 Corinthians 8 verse 5. He was saying to me, “Everything you have belongs to God. First, you gave yourself to God and when you give yourself, you have given everything you can.”
What that means to me is that we are made in His image, and we bear the imprint of His image. Give that to God. When you give that, then everything else will follow. God is our provider.
I agree, Jeri. The greatest thing we can give to God is our life. If we do this, God will be glorified in our lives and other people will be blessed as a result. He provides everything for us and we, in turn, give everything back to Him. It is the essence of a holistic relationship with the Lord that glorifies Him in the world.
I got a poem from 2 Corinthians 8 verse 9:
Lord help me grow in grace, by being more kind and respectful,
To be more giving without being rude or resentful.
Help me to be more pleasing, let me bring to others pleasure
So my time with them I’ll treasure.
I want to be a reflection of a life living with You near
To seek your will with Godly reverence and fear.
What that means to me is to be more grateful, and to grow in God’s grace no matter what life brings. To be more Kind and to have mercy as well.
Another beautiful and profound creative expression to God, Jeri. The last stanza is a prayer that we should all pray daily. That our lives would reflect how close to God we are. Thank you for sharing!
This week in 2 Corinthians 8, God gave me a song called, “Growing in the Lord”:
We are growing in the Lord, growing in the Lord
We are growing in the Lord on our journey
Expressing His love through us we are growing
Growing, growing in the Lord with our eyes wide open
Our ears are ready to hear
Our minds are set on you, Lord
We are growing in the Lord, growing in the Lord
We are growing in the Lord on our journey. Amen.
Life is a journey and when we do it with our Farther, it is so much more rewarding. He will never forsake us. He is always with us. Thank you, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for your song this week, Alma. May the Holy Spirit give us ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts that are receptive to His words and His leading. This is how we grow on our journey.