Blue Beach

September 25, 2010

Giving in Jesus

 Begging To Give Today

“begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,”

2 Corinthians 8:4

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     Can you imagine begging for anything?  How about begging for a favor?  A friend of mine recently began walking again, after spending approximately 60 days in the hospital after suffering a head injury.  He was reading a Bible one day in the hospital, and came across Page 1703, the story of Peter and John encountering a lame man, who begged for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple (Acts Chapter 3,ff).  By the power of Jesus the Nazarene, that lame man walked again.  He got up, and began praising God.  As my friend lay in the hospital, he asked who was coming to help him get up and walk, like he read in the Bible.  He concluded that only Jesus would help him, so he began forcing himself to get out of bed and walk.  Of course, the alarms sounded, and the nurses came, but he walked more and more.  When he got out of the hospital, I saw him at the beach, and the first thing he said to me was “Page 1703!  Page 1703!  Page 1703!”  He was pointing at my Bible and we read together.  He said that was now his story of how God helped him to walk again.  I have been greatly rejoicing that my friend also walked by the power of Jesus Christ.

      In 2 Corinthians 8:4, Paul talks about the Macedonian churches urging him with much begging (“παρακλήσεως δεόμενοι“) to support the saints.  Paul puts the matter strongly when he talks about begging.

Principle of Giving:

Giving Should Be a Matter of

Begging with Much Urging

      The Macedonians were not begging for funds.  On the contrary, they were begging to give funds.  They wanted the privilege and blessing of giving to the saints in need.  They wanted to share in giving.

Principle of Giving:

Supporting the Saints Always

Means Sharing God’s Grace

       The Macedonians begged for the “favor” (“χάριν“) of participating in the support of the saints.  The word for “favor” here often means “grace” and I prefer it in this context.  God’s grace has many different aspects, and when we talk about supporting the saints in need, it helps me understand that I have received God’s grace in my life, and love to share God’s grace to me by giving to others, especially other believers.  So often today, I see people who feel compelled to give.  The Macedonians begged Paul to accept their gifts for the saints.  The gifts they made represented grace at work in their lives.  So also, when we give, we share what God has bestowed first upon us as believers: His grace.

Principle of Giving:

Supporting the Saints Always

Includes Fellowship

      The word for “participation” (“κοινωνίαν“) here means a spiritual sharing or fellowship.  I spent time with a group of assemblies that had “fellowship” with me when I preached at a particular assembly.  By fellowship, they meant that they gave me a check.  I learned over time that they used the term “fellowship” to describe several different types of spiritual sharing, and they used the term as it is used in the Bible.  In this verse, Paul uses the term fellowship to describe the spiritual sharing the Macedonians enjoyed with the saints by giving money for the support of the saints.

Principle of Giving:

Supporting the Saints Always

Includes Service

     The word for “service” (“διακονίας“) here means that your giving amounts to spiritual service to your friends in Christ needing financial assistance.  This same term underlies the term Deacon, because it describes service.  This word “service” has broad meaning in the New Testament, and here it speaks to how God’s grace works to share the service of providing to the saints in need. 

        So, we learn some more about giving in Christ.

        ●  We learn that giving includes always the grace of God, empowering us to share spiritually as service to our friends in need.

        ●  We learn to give better by begging God that we be allowed to share in the ministry of fellowshipping with those in need by providing funds to them. 

       ●  We hinder our giving when we forget that giving flows from hearts begging to share God’s grace as service to our friends in need so that we have spiritual fellowship with them. 

Application for Today

        Today, I want to encourage you to beg God for direction in your giving that you may be able to share God’s grace today, as a service which produces spiritual fellowship.  Are you begging to give today?