If you were to really ask a number of believers to be honest if they loved giving(be it in Church setting or generally), most would say they don’t! Most admit that they give because it is an obligation and they must. They fear that if they don’t give, something bad will happen to them/their loved ones as it is often taught in a number of churches in our day, sadly. God will curse all you do and all you have they unashamedly teach. Sadly, many have been sold to this heresy and falsehood. That my brothers and sisters is the elephant in the room. Let us learn from The Macedonian Churches in 2 Corinthians 8.
The Macedonians are described as materially poor church who were under severe persecution and trials. This surprisingly didn’t take away their Joy and love for other believers. Their attitude was on point! As Phil 2:3-4 says, they were humble and considered others better than themselves. They were not self centred nor did they complain about their situation as many would and do in such situations. Paul continues to say how in spite of their situation, they still insisted they must participate in the grace of giving(Hebrews 13:16). Like the poor widow in Luke 21:1-4 who impressed the Lord Jesus Christ by giving from her poverty unlike the rest who gave from their plenty; Their giving was voluntary, sincere and heartfelt as commanded in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. The Macedonians begged Paul to give. It wasn’t the other way round where the flock is begged to give in our day. When they gave, they surprised Paul since they gave over and above what he expected of them. They didn’t just talk, they practised it. It was love exemplified(1 John 3:16-18). What an attitude!
There is however a secret about their giving that I would want each of us to learn and practice by God’s grace. This kind of sacrificial giving can only come when individuals give themselves fully to God! This is exactly what the Macedonian Church did. They gave themselves fully to Jesus Christ and His will. (2 Cor 8:5). Then Christ taught them how to give from their hearts like He gave His life for us! The same attitude is clearly exemplified by the early church(Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37). This is what Pastors should yearn to do. Don’t coerce, threaten, manipulate, force people to give. Soon or later they will get tired and see the folly there in. Point people to Jesus Christ. Let them know Christ. Then Christ will teach them how to give, when to give and to whom to give for His glory. The secret to giving generously, just like everything else is in Knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and being sold to Him! When people know Christ, they will always automatically give towards what glorifies Christ. They will look for opportunities to advance the gospel, since Christ and His will drives them. We will not have to manufacture experiences, since they will always long to give towards the people and work of Christ. This actually applies to every facet of the christian life and christian giving(not only in a church setting).
God willing tomorrow we look at why we must be accountable and transparent with the giving of God’s people! We must account for every penny, every shilling given! Shalom