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The Joy of Generosity | Part 2: Why Does Giving Matter?
December 5, 2022
2 Corinthians 8:1-15, 9:7
1We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—5and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
8I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
In our previous discussion on the Joy of Generosity, we have considered what the New Testament has to say about giving, especially financial giving. Christians are called to give voluntarily, responsively, and sacrificially. In other words, we should share our economic resources freely, in response to specific needs, and in radical proportions. But the big question is: Why? Why should we give to support the work of the church and the needs of the poor?
In the video Jason briefly looks into Acts 20 where we see Paul bidding a tearful goodbye to the church in Ephesus. Interestingly, the last words of Paul to the Ephesian believers were to encourage them to live a life of generosity. Paul does not manipulate the solemn moment to coax them into giving, but he points them to the words of their Savior as the motivation to give. Paul says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Paul emphasizes that Christians are called to give generously not of duty, but out of delight—not in order to get, but in response to God’s immeasurable grace.
In 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, Paul is seen urging the Corinthian believers to give generously. Paul, citing the example of the Macedonian church, provides the Biblical framework for giving. Paul encourages the believers to take up a collection, not to support his ministry, but to contribute to the needs of poor Christians living in Jerusalem. Paul emphasizes regular and on-going collection—every time they gather together to worship. Paul specifically uses three words—joy, grace, and love—to motivate believers to give generously in response to the work of Jesus on their behalf.
To discover and experience Jesus Christ in our midst
To cultivate mutually encouraging relationships
To participate in God’s mission to the world
Mighty God, pour out your Holy Spirit on all of us gathered here. Open our hearts, that we might be filled with your goodness and your love. Live in us, that we might bear the life of Christ for all to see. Overshadow us with your presence, that we might truly be blessed and offer your blessing for the sake of the world.
Responsive Prayer—Isaiah 12:2-6
2“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”
3With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
4And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.
5“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.
6Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
1. In this video, Jason talks about the why of the joy of generosity. Before focusing on Acts 20 to demonstrate the right motivation for giving, Jason enumerates two erroneous motivations for giving—what are they? Which of the two erroneous motivations do you struggle with?
2. Acts 20 gives us a framework or the right motivation for generous giving—what is it, and how have you experienced this at Central?
3. In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, Paul is seen encouraging the Corinthians to generously give to meet the needs of fellow believers in Jerusalem. Jason highlights three specific words of Paul as the motivating factors for giving, what are they? Which of the three motivating factors impacted you the most?
4. In verses 1-5 we see Paul describing the generosity of believers in the Macedonian church. What was radical about their generosity, and what can we learn from their generosity?
5. In verse 6 we see Paul urging Titus to continue the collection in the church of Corinth. Paul defines giving as an ‘act of grace.’ How is generosity an act of grace? How have you received and nurtured this grace in your life? (Hint: Paul provides the rationale in verse 7).
6. In verse 8 Paul provides the fundamental motivating factor for generous giving—what is it? How have you experienced this at Central?
7. In the video, Jason—talking about his job interview—makes an insightful comment: “If you stop and think about it–no one really loves money for itself. We love what money can do for us.” Jason lists three things money offers us—what are they?Are you influenced by any of these?
8. How can this passage inspire us to live in a city where the idol of money reigns supreme?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Go in Advent hope and peace.