2 Corinthians 8-9 is the most extensive text regarding the matter of our giving. As noted yesterday, there is no mention of tithing in this or any other New Testament text provided for church instruction. Paul concludes his discourse on giving with some principles that will prove helpful to any church.
First, Paul speaks of giving with goals in mind, in this case to relieve the needy saints in Judea (vv 1-5). People will not give generously without defined goals. When Israel was commanded to give for the construction of the tabernacle, their giving far exceeded the need (Ex 36:7). Elders need to set budgets and goals for the church to increase and expand the local work. People need to be challenged.
Second, Paul says our giving is an expression of our view of God – “He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully“ (v 6). It is a truism that the more seed sown, the greater the harvest. In this case, the word bountifully is from the Greek eulogos, a compound of eu = good + logos = word. It is the word from which we get our English word eulogy, which is to speak a good word on someone’s behalf. My giving should be a good word on the Lord’s behalf!
Third, my giving should be done with purpose – “each one as he has purposed in his heart, so let him give” (v 7). In this case, not necessarily with the goal in mind, but the giving in comparison to my blessings. The word “purpose” here means “to choose beforehand.” We should give careful thought to our blessings of the week (cf 1 Cor 16:1-2) to plan beforehand what we will give, rather than fumbling around at the last minute to see what we might have in our wallet or purse.
Fourth my giving should be done with gladness – “God loves a cheerful giver” (v 7). Paul warned the brethren to work toward completing their intended gift, lest they caught at the last minute and give as a matter of “grudging obligation” (v 5).
Fifth, my giving should be done in faith. Too many see their giving as a matter of personal loss, when Paul says that God blesses far greater than what we give. The farmer does not consider the purchase and sowing of seed as a loss, but rather as an investment (vv 8-10).
Finally, remember that our giving ultimately leads to God’s glory. When we give, the Lord’s work is carried on, people are ministered to, taught, and souls are saved. When this happens, God is glorified (vv 12-13).