How Should We Give?
2 Corinthians 9:1-15
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Sept. 22, 2013
*This morning we are going to talk about giving money to the Lord's church, and that can make some people uncomfortable. But church, we have to talk about money, because the Bible talks about money. Jesus talked about money. One source said that 11 of the 39 parables involve money, and in the Book of Luke, one out of every seven verses mentions money. (1)
*Jesus talked about money. For example, in Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said:
19. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20. but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
*Mark 12:42-44 says:
42. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
*And in Luke 6:38, Jesus said: "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.''
*God often talks about money in His Word. And He wants us to give, because He is a giver. So, let's look into the Word of God today and see how we should give.
1. First: We should give faithfully.
*This is the message for us in vs. 5, where Paul said: "Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your bountiful gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation."
*In the New Living Translation, Paul says: "So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given under pressure."
*In order to understand what Paul is saying here, we need to know that he is talking about a special offering for the needy believers in Jerusalem. We know that this offering was important, because Paul spends two whole chapters talking about it in this letter.
*Most of the early churches were involved. And after all the money was collected, Paul wrote about taking this special offering to Jerusalem. In Romans 15:25-27, Paul said:
25. But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.
26. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.
27. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister to them in material things.
*In today's Scripture, they were still collecting this much-needed offering. And the situation in Corinth was that they had made a generous pledge the year before. But they had not followed up. And now Paul has sent an advance team to encourage the people to be faithful to their commitment.
*God wants US to be faithful givers, too, and there is much to say about how to do it.
 First, remember that this was a special offering.
*God's basic plan for giving has always been the tithe, or 10% of our income. The Lord strongly speaks about the importance of the tithe in Malachi 3:8-12. Thus saith the LORD:
8. "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings.
9. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation.
10. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this,'' says the Lord of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.
11. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,'' says the Lord of hosts;
12. And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,'' says the Lord of hosts."
*Here the Lord God commands us to tithe, and He promises to bless us when we do tithe. I can think of three other good reasons to tithe:
-It reminds us where all of our blessings come from.
-It reminds us that all of this stuff really belongs to God.
-And it helps carry out the most important work in the world.
*Pastor Steve Beasley was giving a children's sermon in church one Sunday. And he used ten pennies to explain tithing to the children. Steve said: "God gives us everything we have, but only asks for a tenth back. It's like these ten pennies. God gives all of them to us, and only asks for one back."
*One of the 5-year-old boys named Kyle spoke up real loud and said: "That's fair!" (2)
*Kyle was right! Faithful giving includes our financial tithes and offerings.
 But our faithful giving includes much, much more.
*In the previous chapter, Paul held up the Macedonian Christians as a good example to challenge the church in Corinth. Listen to what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5:
1. Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:
2. that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.
3. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing,
4. imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5. And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
*They Macedonians didn't just give their money to the Lord. First, they gave THEMSELVES. They gave their lives to the Lord. And so should we.
*On this last day of the Week of Prayer for State Missions, Georgia Barnette is a good example for us. Our state missions offering is named after Georgia. But who was Georgia Barnette? She was born in Virginia in 1861, and she grew up in a Christian home. But Georgia Barnette did not make her profession of faith until she was in her twenties.
*From that time on she grew spiritually, and showed a deep love for Jesus. After two years of full-time service in Virginia, and three years in Atlanta, Barnette was surprised by an invitation to serve as a missionary for the First Baptist Church in New Orleans. Later she wrote, "Feeling that it was the leadership of the Lord, on Oct. 16, 1901, with goodbye said, and tears shed, I made my way to the First Baptist Church, New Orleans."
*Three years later, she began serving as the first full-time leader of the Louisiana Women's Missionary Union. Over the next 28 years, Georgia Barnette travelled over 180,000 miles, serving the Lord in Louisiana. She travelled by train, buggy, wagon, horseback, pirogue and on foot. Georgia once said, "I've traveled everywhere in the state of Louisiana and every way except mule back."
*That faithful service is why the state missions offering was named in her honor in 1936. (3)
*Georgia Barnette faithfully gave, not just her money, but her life to the Lord. We should give faithfully to the Lord.
2. And we should give generously.
*This is the message for us in vs. 6, where Paul wrote: "But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."
*It's true in the garden, and it's true in our giving: We reap what we sow. A lady from Tallahassee, Florida gave a great testimony of this truth. Her name was Altha Cotton. And the first time she ever went to church was because her children got involved in the church's basketball program. They loved it.
*And when mom found out that team members were supposed to go to church every once in a while, they went. Six months later, Altha and her husband received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It was exciting to watch the transformation in their family, as they grew in the Lord.
*After a year, they decided to tithe their income. And two years later, Altha asked if she could speak at a "Stewardship Moment" during church. She took a spoon from her purse and told the congregation that was the way she used to give to the church. Then, she went behind the choir rail, and pulled out the biggest snow shovel anyone had ever seen. Altha held it up and said: "We give like this now. And this is how God gives back to us." (4)
*That was a good illustration. But it would have been better if Altha had used a big wheel barrow to show how God gives back to us, or even a dump truck. It would have been better, because God gives much more to us than we could ever give to Him! You can't out give God! -- So we should give generously.
3. And we should give cheerfully.
*This is the message in vs. 7, where Paul said: "Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver."
*If anybody could force us to give, it would be God. But He doesn't force us. God loves a cheerful giver, because that's the way He gives. God loves a cheerful giver, because it takes a heart like His. And God loves a cheerful giver, because it shows that He is living in us, making us more and more like Him.
I read about a good mother who wanted to teach her daughter the blessing of giving. So one Sunday, she gave her little girl a quarter and a dollar for church. Then Mom said: "Put whichever one you want in the offering plate and keep the other for yourself."
*When they were coming out of church, Mom asked her daughter which amount she had given. "Well," the little girl said, "I was going to give the dollar. But just before the offering, the preacher said that we should be cheerful givers. I knew I'd be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did!" (5)
*She missed the point, and sometimes so do we. The Lord wants us to cheerfully give all we can give. He loves a cheerful giver. So, we should give cheerfully.
4. And we should give hopefully.
*This is the message for us in vs. 8-14. Please listen to Paul this time from the NIV. There Paul says:
8. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
9. As it is written: "They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever."
10. Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
11. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
13. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
14. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.
*God doesn't want us to give with an "Oh, woe is me, now we're never gonna make it" frame of mind! He wants us to give in faith, trusting that He is more than able to meet our needs! God wants us to expect an overflowing fountain of blessings from Him that will enable us to keep on giving. And God wants us to expect that our giving will produce multiplied joy, thanksgiving, prayers, love, grace and faith. Why does God want us to expect these multiplied blessings? -- Because in vs. 8, He "is able to make all grace abound toward" us!
*Christian writer Bruce Watson told of a time when he was working his way through seminary driving a taxi. He was sitting in his cab in front of a Philadelphia hotel, thinking and praying.
*He said, "This particular day, business had been extremely slow. I was wondering where I was going to get $60 to pay for the daily rent of my cab. I could lose the cab, and my livelihood, if I didn't come up with the money immediately. Just then, a young woman got into my cab and said, 'I know it will cost $25 for this ride, but I can only afford to pay you $15. I work for a charity, and that's all they gave me for cab fare.'" Bruce said, "I thought about it for a minute. I am probably going to lose my cab anyway. Why not help someone else have a good day? I agreed to do it.
*At her destination, the woman paid the $15 fare. Then reached into her purse and laid a $100 bill next to me on the seat! 'The $15 fare was the charity's money,' she explained. This is my own money. God told me you needed it.' With that, she was gone. And through tears of joy, I thanked God for supplying my daily needs." (6)
*Church: That's the kind of thing God wants to do in our lives. So, don't be afraid to give. If you make the commitment, God will make a way. God will make a way, because He "is able to make all grace abound toward" us! That's why we should give hopefully.
5. But we should also give thankfully.
*We should give thankfully because of what Paul said in vs. 15: "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
*God's gift to us is indescribable. It's unspeakable. It's too wonderful for words! Paul is talking about the gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
*Jesus Christ gave His perfect life on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Rising from the dead, He gives eternal life all who will receive Him as Lord and Savior. As believers then we should have thanksgiving in our hearts right now. And this thanksgiving will last forever. We should overflow with gratitude, because Jesus took our place. We were guilty, but Jesus was willing to take our punishment and die on the cross for us.
*William Ezell told a moving story from the days of the Civil War. A company of Confederate soldiers known as "Bushwackers" was captured by Union soldiers. They were immediately sentenced to be shot, because they were guerilla fighters and not in uniform.
*One of the Confederate soldiers was a young man named Willy Lear. But there was an amazing young soldier among the Union troops that day. He went to his commanding officer, and pleaded for the life of Willy Lear. "Won't you let me take his place?" the Union soldier asked. "I know him well. He has a large family who needs him badly. My parents are dead and I have few friends. No one will miss me. Please let me take his punishment!"
*The officer hesitated, but finally gave his consent. So the young Union soldier pulled that condemned father to the side, and took his place on the death line. The stone that marks the Union soldier's grave contains these words: "Sacred to the memory of Willy Lear. He took my place." (7)
*Has anyone ever died for you? The answer is Yes! Romans 5:8 tells us that: "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
*God wants us to give, because He is a giver. So, we should give faithfully, generously, cheerfully, hopefully, and thankfully.
*Think about these things as we go to God in prayer.
(2) Sermons.com illustration by Steve Beasley, Shiloh Baptist Church, Columbus, IN
(3) Adapted from "Who Was Georgia Barnette?" - Original source unknown
(4) David L. Brazelton, assistant general secretary for the General Board of Discipleship (UMC), addresses the Congress on Evangelism held in Orlando, FL, Newscope Lecture Series - September, 1992
(5) "Bits & Pieces" - February 4, 1993, p. 23 - Source: Sermonillustrations.com
(6) Adapted from: Bruce Watson, I Needed Cash, Christianity Online, October 6, 1998, www.christianity.net - My Source: "The Lord's Prayer: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread" - Text: Matthew 6:5-13 - Date: February 5, 2011 - Hope United Church (PCUSA) - By Rev. Dr. James R. Berger
(7) Preaching - March-April 2000 - page 34