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21. The Christian attitude to money

The Master's instructions about everyday life. (2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9)


It has been said that a man’s money represents himself. It is his time, his energy and his skill converted into pounds and pence. If this is so, then a man gives something of himself to God when he gives his offerings to the Lord.


Acts 5 teaches us that giving to the Lord is not something to be taken lightly. Ananias and Sapphira tried to make out they were something they were not and God instantly judged them. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil

(1 Timothy 6:10). A wrong attitude to money will very

quickly deaden our spiritual awareness and appetite.


In 2 Corinthians 8-9 we can discover some principles concerning pounds

and pence which will help us in our walk with God and in our giving to Him.


The amount of the gift is unimportant (vv.2-3)

These verses speak of the Macedonian Christians giving out of their

poverty. If you want to put a figure on it, you should contemplate that

‘they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability’.


The Jewish tradition of tithing speaks clearly of 10% being set aside for

the Lord. Acts 4:32-37 shows that the Jerusalem church had no

legalistic figure. The sharing depended not so much on the resources as

on the needs. The Corinthians had been encouraged by Paul in his first

letter (16:1-4), to set aside money in proportion to their income as part of

their worship on the Lord’s day. The amount is not the most important

thing.


The attitude of the giver makes the gift acceptable (v.4)

Here we see that these newly converted Christians were very keen to

invest their money in God’s work. They ‘urgently pleaded’ to be allowed to

give. They saw it as a ‘privilege’ to serve God and His people in this way.

There may be many ways of raising money today. Some are good for the

church, others are probably not. Without doubt the greatest way God

chooses to supply the needs of His church is by moving men’s hearts.

Chapter 9 verse 7 encourages preparation before giving. Make a

conscious decision that a certain sum is going from your income into the

Lord’s treasury. Don’t do this because you have to, but because you want

to.


You don’t give to the pastor, nor do you give to the poor. You’re giving to

God. The widow who added her two mites to the temple treasury gave

secretly before men, as a steward in the eyes of God, sacrificially in view

of her own resources, and suitably as one seeking to follow God. The

amount of the gift depends on your faith not your funds. The acceptance

of the gift by God depends on your attitude as well as your actions.


God anoints both gift and giver

A friend of mine once said that the faster he kept shovelling money out

into God’s work the bigger his money pile became. He thought he was

shovelling as fast as God was, and concluded that God was using a bigger

shovel! We should aim to ‘excel in this grace of giving’ (2 Corinthians 8:7).

Chapter 9 verses 6-11 teaches the disciple to sow generously in order to

reap generously. The more we sow the more we will reap and the more we

will have to sow again. Verse 12 says that the outcome of such stewardship

is thanks and praise to God. Circle the word ‘all’ in verse 8and just see if

there is any area in which you cannot be confident of God meeting your needs.


Other principles can be found in the Bible about money:


Matthew 25:14-30 teaches that God wants 100% return for His

investment in you.

Mark 10:17-31 shows that a man may be held back

from following God by a wrong attitude to money.

Mark 12:13-17 warns that being a Christian does not

excuse you from the duties of this world.


A mark of true Christianity is genuine investment in God’s kingdom.


Discussion guide on ‘The Christian Attitude to Money’

Reading 2 Corinthians 8 & 9.

1. The Corinthian Christians had made the right noises about a

collection for their suffering brothers and sisters in Jerusalem,

but they had not completed it. Paul gives them an example from

another church, 8:1-5. In your own words, describe the Macedonian

response to the needs in Jerusalem.


2. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 describes Paul’s advice for a collection. What

had happened as time went by? See 2 Corinthians 8:6-12.


3. What do you understand about giving to God and His work from

verse 12?


4. List all the ways Christian giving is described in verses 1-16; 9:1.

I found seven.


5. What practical steps should we take to ensure the safe collection

and distribution of funds? See 8:16-24 Why?


6. Jesus often spoke about money. From His teaching draw as many

principles as you can about a Christian attitude to stewardship:

• Matthew 6:1-4

• Matthew 6:19-21

• Luke 21:1-4

• Mark 12:13-17

• Matthew 17:24-27

• Matthew 19:16-23

• Matthew 25:14-30


7. According to 2 Corinthians 9:7 what is every Christian’s responsibility

regarding giving to God? From the surrounding verses, what promises

from God can the Christian expect God to fulfil?

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