It’s never easy preaching and teaching about money and giving. But it’s a key bit of discipleship, as Paul makes clear here. He encourages the Corinthians to give generously to relieve the need of those suffering from famine, and teaches us that giving should be
- A sign of faith – he even seems to make a bit of a competition between churches of it in 8:1-7!
- A response to the generous self – giving of Jesus. He gave himself for us, so we can at least give our money in response.
- It leads to a fairer sharing of resources – from the abundance of one to the need of others, making a ‘fair balance’. I can’t help thinking just how much giving would be needed from the Christians of the developed world to make that a reality today…
- It leads in some way to a spirit of abundance. Those who give are more able to receive, and also are working more fully in step with God’s approach to possessions. He loves a cheerful giver (9:7) and blesses accordingly.I don’t think this is the sort of ‘divine pension plan’ of the prosperity gospel, but a wider view of true abundance and wealth in the real things of life.
- So giving to those in need, motivated by love of Jesus, benefits not just the one who receives but also the one who gives.
Perhaps it’s time to teach on giving again.