Posted by: Brad Beaman | July 20, 2009

Grace Giving

 

In the book Money for Ministries There is a stewardship testimony article from a corporate CEO who has been married 45 years. When he was first married he and his wife found out about a missionary who needed $100. All they had was $100 and that was earmarked to buy a refrigerator. They extended themselves and gave that money to meet the need.

Within a week they received a gift to pay for that refrigerator. This began a pilgrimage for them of grace giving. After 45 years from that time they pray extensively about how they will give $1 million per year to finance the Lord’s work.

Giving in Christ’s Spirit can be a great adventure. It can become a pilgrimage of Christian growth as we discover ways to maximize our giving.

I found it exciting to be creative in giving when I worked at Quaker Oats and they had a Triple Matching Gift program for an education institution. I found an educational institution that focused on the great Commission and every time I gave them $100 the matching gift fund gave $300 and there was $400 giving in educational training to further the Great Commission. As I was doing this I found a great joy in helping finance others in the Lord’s work. There is a joy in giving.

The grace of giving has a deep effect on the inner dynamics of your life. As believers in Christ we are under grace not the law. As New Testament believers we have a higher motivation than the law for giving. We have been saved by grace.

Grace giving requires a spiritual maturity. The Corinthians lacked that maturity. They were babes in Christ. They needed exhortation on their giving. Paul uses the example of the Macedonians to explain how God’s grace has a deep effect on the area of our giving.

2 Corinthians 8:1-7
1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. 6So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

Grace giving is generous. Paul uses the example of the Macedonian churches. Here was a group of believers in Macedonia. The grace of God was upon them and it produced a generous spirit. Surprisingly this is not a rich church. As a matter of fact they were in severe affliction and extreme poverty.

Don’t think grace giving is for the rich and famous. The widows mite (Luke 2:14) explodes that myth. Grace giving means in spite of adversity. It is done in the midst of economic difficulty. It involves extending ourselves beyond our abilities.

The Macedonian churches manifested the grace of God. When you receive the grace of God the proper response is grace giving. It is beyond our ability in the midst of adversity. It means generous giving.
When you give out of adversity, in affliction and beyond your ability you pour out God’s grace on a hurting world. These fist century Christians faced a great deal of adversity and through grace giving they rose above it.

Giving generously is evident of being led by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Christ lives though us that when Christian life is meaningful beyond compare.

We only give what God first gave to us. The very act of giving is a gift from God. The undeserved favor that God poured upon you in salvation is motivation for grace giving should result in generosity in giving, even beyond your ability.

Grace giving is joyful giving. This is a giving that has overflowing joy and is considered a privilege and results in more than is expected. Grace giving see the offering time as a privilege not a burden.
Give and it will be given unto you. This is not always material. There is the joy of being closer to Christ and having a deeper fellowship. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Grace giving is the result of being Spirit filled (Acts 4:31-35). Meet needs of all. We are to give willingly and not under compulsion. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) your inward attitude is crucial in how you give.

Grace giving is will, cheerful giving. Not a giving as a result of pressure of manipulation. Some work campaigns have pressure to give to make the department 100% givers. This kind of pressure is not fitting for Christian grace giving.

Grace giving is showing your love to God. Love isn’t just warm fuzzy thoughts or good intentions. Love transfers into action. Evidence of love is when we are willing to part with our property or anything that is valuable to us.

Giving cheerfully in love is the way Christ gives. Love is essential to grace giving. (1 Corinthians 13:3) If I give all I posses to the poor and have not love, I gain nothing.

Grace giving is sacrificial giving. The Macedonian Christians gave more than expected. The grace of God produces sacrificial giving. Grace giving means extending yourself. The deepest sacrifice will never equal the greatest giver of all time, Jesus Christ gave to us. Jesus went to the throne of God to death on a cross for your sake.

The Macedonians gave sacrificially. They first gave themselves to the Lord. Grace giving means you have fully given yourself to Christ, you are an instrument in his hand. All that you are, all that you have is laid on the altar at the disposal to the will of God.

Plan your giving. Grace giving is not impulse giving when the phone rings and someone pressures you to give.

Grace giving is the will of God. It is for those who seek the Lord and give by his direction and give generously, joyfully and sacrificially.

When you give to the Lord’s work your heart will be in the Lord’s work and in serving Christ. Once you experience God’s grace our response should be to serve Jesus Christ faithfully.

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