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.
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 http://toulonbaptist.com
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)
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.
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.