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
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
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
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?