Posted by: Brad Beaman | September 26, 2009

The Purpose of Giving

gone to seed

Henry P. Crowell contracted tuberculosis when a boy and couldn’t go to school. His Father and brother died of TB and he should have died of it too. He made a contract with God. If he were spared he would use his abilities to amass large sums of money for evangelism. For the next 50 years he dedicated 70% of his income to kingdom causes. He bought a bankrupt mill in Ravenna, Ohio in 1881. He believed that God endowed him with bold ideas and the success of the company he founded, Quaker Oats.

He was one of the wealthiest men of Chicago when he died in 1943. Crowell viewed all things as a stewardship from God, including influence. Over the years, one businessman after another would comment on how he came to know Christ personally because of the life of integrity lived by Henry Parsons Crowell. Henry Parsons Crowell was a man who gave with a purpose.

What is the purpose of giving? Paul gives us insight into this in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15:

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written:
“He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”[a] 10Now 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. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men 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. 14And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

The goal of the Christian life is to be more like Christ. Verse 15 indicates that God gave us the most precious gift possible in sending Jesus Christ. If we want to become Christ-like it will involve learning to freely and generously give our financial resources.

Our giving is evidence of how we are progressing in Christ-likeness. It is part of breaking the chains of the self centered life and making God’s concerns your concerns.

When we give we are putting love and selflessness in action. We are saying, “I am putting others needs as important, not only my own.” We shift from selfishness to selfless. In verse 11 Paul tells the Corinthians that their giving would result in enrichment for them.

The farmer plants seeds and as a result reaps a harvest. Christians sow seeds of generosity and reap blessings. Paul’s focus here is on spiritual blessings. Our generous giving is an indication that we are laying up treasures in heaven. Lack of generosity means we are simply building bigger barns for storage.

God enriches the person who is a generous giver. Why? Is it for personal gain? No. It is that we can continually bless others. You might suppose that your resources are too limited. Paul reminds of God’s all sufficiency of resources. As we grow in Christ we trust more in the Lord.

Our purpose is to bring glory to God and be about His kingdom. When we give we are achieving that. God is sovereign. He is the source of all life’s blessings.

We see in verse 12 that not only is Corinthian giving going to supply the needs of Gods people but it is overflowing in many thanks to God. Giving expresses praise and thanksgiving. Their generous giving would not give credit to them, but rather God would get the glory.

The Jerusalem believers would be grateful recipients of the generous Corinthian gift. They would express thanks to God. James 1:7 God is the source of all good gifts. The overflow of giving is praise offered to God.

In the Old Testament the Tithes and offerings were in part to teach people to fear and honor God. “So that you may revere the Lord your God always”. Deut 14:23 When you give generously God receives honor. Vs 11 says your generosity will result in Thanksgiving to God. God is honored.

Our love of God is interwoven with our love of man. A major way of expressing our love to God is expressing our love to man. One purpose of giving according to the Bible is to alleviate different forms of human need and problems. Jesus went so far to say when we give to people in need we give to the Lord himself.

Vs 12 the gift was supplying the need of the poor in Jerusalem. Romans 12:13 calls on Christians to share with God’s people in need. As you give God provides you with resources to meet the needs of others.

When we discover a need as a Christian we are to do more than pray and say God bless you. Giving meets human need. We have a responsibility to give and meet human need. We live in a world filled with immense suffering.

Financial support is basic to the churches internal and external mission. It costs money to do the great commission. There are very few churches or ministries that would not be able to expand what they do with more financial resources.

When churches would send a gift to Paul as did the Philippians church, Paul saw them as partners in the gospel who would share in the rewards.

Giving has a tendency of multiplying itself with a ripple effect. Vs 8:1 Macedonian Christians set an example for the Corinthians who set an example for the Jerusalem Church.

As you give financially and others notice that you are blessed, you will be encouraging them to experience the joy of supernatural giving. As the Corinthian Christians blessed the church in Jerusalem with their giving they in turn would, “pray on their behalf.”

The phrase unto all verse 13 indicates the generosity would produce yet more generosity. There is such a lost opportunity when we opt not to give to kingdom purposes and instead spend money on ourselves we break “that” attitude.

What a powerful thing it will be if we lowered our standard of living and give the money to the Lord’s work. We will be laying up treasures in heaven. Could you imagine a farmer so tight that he only scattered a few seeds? What a miserable crop that would result in. What are we to make of those who sow sparingly in the kingdom of God? Won’t you develop purpose in your giving?

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Responses

  1. You write very effectively, I’m encouraged by reading your blog. Christianity in America has gotten such a bad name due to the collective Church. I hope that people can focus on Christ, his Word, and giving as opposed to the sins of fellow pepole. Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s great!


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