October 11, 2010

Giving in Jesus

 Forethought and Honor in Giving Today

“for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

2 Corinthians 8:21

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     I cringe when I watch another documentary on television showing that some preacher lives in a mansion, drives a Rolls Royce automobile, has a private jet, and preaches the gospel of prosperity.  Misusing God’s gifts to a ministry brings tremendous shame upon not only that ministry, but also causes tongues to wag about Christians and their many faults.  When believers give money to a local assembly for any reason, the local assembly, through its elders, has a duty to be sure those funds benefit people in need.  Likewise, when special funds have been raised at a local assembly for use outside the local assembly, then the givers in the local assembly want to be assured that the gifts will be used for the intended purpose.

       In 2 Corinthians 8:21, Paul continues his teaching about the administration of funds given for a particular purpose in the church.  In this case, the saints at Corinth had raised some money for the saints in Jerusalem.  Now Paul discusses the way the funds will be delivered to Jerusalem, and particularly the saints who will be in charge of delivering the funds from Corinth to Jerusalem.

Principle of Giving:

Saints Should Give Careful Forethought

to the Administration of Offerings

       Paul also gave forethought (“προνοοῦμεν“) to the people who would be carrying the gift to Jerusalem.  He had already described the “famous brother” who was appointed by the churches to travel with the ministry team.  This “famous brother” would help in the administration of the gift.  As believers, we should be very careful not only with how much we give, but also with who will be in charge of transporting our gifts, and distributing our gifts to other people.  We must use forethought to select just the right people to be involved with the administration of money given by the saints.

Principle of Giving:

The Use of Money Should Appear

Honorable to Believers and Unbelievers

       Paul used the term “honorable” (“ἀλλὰ“) to describe the regard we must have for the use of funds raised for spiritual purposes.  While the individuals making gifts should always be kept secret, so that one’s right hand does not know what one’s left hand is doing (Matthew 6:3), the assembly should have a clear understanding of how the gift was administered and ultimately distributed.  In fact, special messengers should be ready to provide such a report, and those men should be carefully chosen.  They must be honorable men whom everyone will deem trustworthy.

        So, we learn some more about giving in Christ.

         ●  We learn that elders in charge of giving should be very careful to give forethought to the selection of men who will administer gifts from the saints.

        ●  We learn that the administration of gifts from the saints should pass the “honorable” to all men standard.  Everyone should be able to see and understand that the funds were used for the glory of God, and not for the benefit of some unintended person or in some unintended way.

         ●  We hinder the testimony of our assembly when assemblies fail to be open and honest in the use of gifts to the ministry.  Everyone should see that our giving benefits the glory of God.

Application for Today

        Today, I want to encourage you to promote responsible oversight of your personal giving, and the giving in your local assembly.  Will you take steps to review the giving in your local assembly and to be sure that those gifts have been used to glorify God alone?