Giving; A Proof of Love

2 Cor 8:1-8

8:1 Now I want to tell you what God in his grace has done for the churches in Macedonia.

2 Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, they have mixed their wonderful joy with their deep poverty, and the result has been an overflow of giving to others. 3 They gave not only what they could afford but far more; and I can testify that they did it because they wanted to and not because of nagging on my part. 4 They begged us to take the money so they could share in the joy of helping the Christians in Jerusalem. 5 Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us, for whatever directions God might give to them through us. 6 They were so enthusiastic about it that we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to visit you and encourage you to complete your share in this ministry of giving. 7 You people there are leaders in so many ways-you have so much faith, so many good preachers, so much learning, so much enthusiasm, so much love for us. Now I want you to be leaders also in the spirit of cheerful giving.

8 I am not giving you an order; I am not saying you must do it, but others are eager for it. This is one way to prove that your love is real, that it goes beyond mere words. TLB

In the USA we spend about 350 billion on sports each year. But we will spend 375 billion on dining out.

But we give less than 200 billion to all charities, religious and secular. Of that amount much less than half, about 81 billion is given to churches and Christian institutions. And then you consider that those making under $10,000 a year give twice the percentage of those who make over $75,000 a year. The people who go to those churches make about 5.2 trillion each year.

Most pastors tithe but do not ask their people to. Barna Research

As a matter of fact I think of the close to 500 times I have preached here that less than 5 times have I preached a message just on giving. People are funny about giving and how they think about it. One fella told me one time that every time the preacher talked about giving they gave less. Well now they don't give any thing. Other people think the offering is and should be a reflection on the popularity of the pastor.

But giving is a reflection of the heart. Paul is writing to the Corinthians in our text. He wants to make sure they are ready when he arrives to receive the donation they will make to the churches of Judea who are in great need. As a matter of fact chapters 8 & 9 are mostly about this gift Paul hopes they have ready when he comes to them. He is using the eagerness of the churches of Macedonia to stir them up to give a large gift. He notices that the churches of Macedonia have been going through some very rough times themselves lately. But even that had not cooled their desire to give.

Now the church at Corinth was very well off and could give a large gift if they wanted to. So Paul is doing his best to give them that opportunity to excel in this grace as they do in others.

  1. Paul is not bashful to ask for them to give.
    1. The New Testament has more to say about money then heaven or hell or even love.
    2. Jesus often talked about money, stewardship and giving.
    3. I think a lot of Christians don't want the preacher preaching about it because they know they are robbing God.
      1. Mal. 3:8 "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.
  2. I notice also that giving is not based on ability to give.
    1. The widow of Jesus day gave more than everyone else.
      1. How could she do that seeing she only gave the two smallest coins.
        1. Mark 12:42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood."
      2. Jesus did not consider her gift but what she had left.
      3. The others, Jesus said had given out of their abundance, they had a great deal left.
    2. I remember years ago when I was working at Kmart and trying to raise a family on $3.00 per hour.
      1. Every week the tithe went to the church regardless.
      2. When I left that job and went to working construction at $9.00 in 1975 I had no trouble giving a tithe on that. My tithe went from $15.00 a week to $40.00 a week. By 1979 I was tithing about $80.00 a week.
      3. Years later I spent about 2 years with almost no income in the early 80's, tithing is really easy when you have no income.
      4. About that time I ran across a man I had known in seminary who had went from working in management at Cat to a very low paying job, oh yes he was a pastor also.
      5. He told me that he always had a hard time tithing on those big Cat checks but had not trouble tithing once his income dropped by two thirds.
      6. I never said a thing, but I am here to tell you that the more you make the easier it is to tithe not harder.
    3. Many people who make a lot of money give large amounts.
      1. J.C. Penny gave 90% of his income to the Lord's work as did Robert G. LeTourneau.
      2. But for the most part the more people make the less they give proportionally to the Lord.
      3. If the man who makes a thousand dollars a week gives $100 and the man who makes $100 a week give ten they have given proportionally.
      4. But greed has a way of growing in even a Christian's life.
  3. Our giving reflects our relationship with God. "their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord "
    1. How could Abraham take his son Isaac and sacrifice him to the Lord?
      1. It was because of the relationship he had with God.
      2. You see Abraham truly love the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength.
      3. He loved the Lord more than he did his own son.
    2. What causes a man to become a missionary, to give up all they could have here to go and serve God in some God forsaken place.
    3. What would cause some well off Baptists to go to Iraq to tell people about the love of Jesus knowing that they could die there and some did and others no doubt will.
    4. You see when God has you, when He has your heart, there is not gift that is too much.
      1. Jesus told the rich young ruler, give everything you have to the poor and come follow me. He went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.
      2. He loved his things and himself far more than he loved Jesus.
  4. Giving proves our love for God.
    1. This was their opportunity to demonstrate all that they claimed for themselves.
      1. Giving was a proof of their love.
      2. It could be shown that they were not just speaking words.
    2. Not giving proves you don't love God.
      1. 1 John 3:17 But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?
    3. God loves a cheerful giver 2 Cor. 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
      1. God did not require these special offerings, but he appealed to people with generous hearts. Only those who were willing to give were invited to participate. God loves people who give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7 Our giving should be from love and generosity, not from a guilty conscience.
      2. Remember what we said a couple of weeks ago about love being reckless.
      3. Notice Paul says and you purpose in your heart so give.
      4. Not as you purpose in your mind but heart.
      5. Giving to God is a proof of a heart connection.
      6. If you give grudgingly and sparingly it indicates a lack of love.

Paul closes this section in chapter 9 with verse 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

As we partake the Lord's Supper we will remember God's generosity0. to us in that He gave us His Son. 

 This message was preached at FBC Toulon,

by Albert Harmon. See it at  



This year, Americans are expected to spend a record $376 billion on dining out, says the National Restaurant Association. If the average American family would spend half their dining-out budget on philanthropy, the nation's giving totals would double.
Source: Uebelherr, Jan, Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, April 9, 2000

Lower-income donors have become increasingly generous. In 1995, Americans with annual incomes below $10,000 donated 4.3% of their household incomes. Conversely, those in the $75,000 to $99,000 bracket gave only 1.8% of their household
Source: PBS Newshour Online Forum

The Church's Huge Storehouse of Wealth

In 2000, American evangelicals collectively made $2.66 trillion in income.
Total Christian [including nominal] income in the United States is $5.2 trillion annually, nearly half of the world
's total Christian income.

Over the next 50 years, between $41 trillion and $136 trillion will pass from older Americans to younger generations, suggesting that roughly $1 trillion to $3 trillion in wealth will change hands every year.

Title: The Handbook of Bible Application


GENEROSITY (Giving, Kindness, Sharing)

What are the biblical guidelines for generosity?

BIBLE READING: Exodus 35:4-36:7

KEY BIBLE VERSE: Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word
throughout the camp: "No man or woman is to make anything else as
an offering for the sanctuary." And so the people were restrained
from bringing more, because what they already had was more than
enough to do all the work.
(Exodus 36:6-7, NIV)

Generosity means giving cheerfully. God did not require these special
offerings, but he appealed to people with generous hearts. Only those
who were willing to give were invited to participate. God loves
cheerful givers (2 Corinthians 9:7). Our giving should be from love
and generosity, not from a guilty conscience.

Generosity means giving enthusiastically. Those whose hearts were
stirred gave cheerfully to the tabernacle. With great enthusiasm they
gave because they knew how important their giving was to the
completion of God's house. Airline pilots and computer operators
can push test buttons to see if their equipment is functioning
properly. God has a quick test button he can push to measure the
level of our commitment--our pocketbooks. Generous people aren't
necessarily faithful to God. But faithful people are always generous.