It is important that we are instructed in the principles of grace as they apply to giving. Having been freed from the law of Moses, we do not give out of compulsion nor out of the fear of a curse. We are recreated in Christ Jesus with the Spirit of God indwelling us and working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. The result is that it is a delightful act of giving motivated by a true love for God and humanity. This love is a response to the impact of God’s love upon our hearts.
Most of my insights will be from 1 Corinthians 16, 2 Corinthians 8 & 9. Aside from the communal living of the early church in the first few chapters of Acts of the Apostles, the collections raised by Paul, the Apostle for the suffering saints at Jerusalem form the model for us of what grace giving should be. At the foundation of the generosity of the gentile churches was the sense of obligation they had to the church at Jerusalem because the gospel came from them. Paul established this principle in his epistles to the Romans, Corinthians and Galatians. Where spiritual things have been sown, carnal things should be given back in support (Romans 15:27-28, I Corinthians 9:11-12, Galatians 6:6-7). My intervention is a guide for us to carry out personal Bible studies as space will not permit me to teach in-depth and in detail.
Grace giving is done JOYFULLY.
The joy the Macedonian church had in giving had nothing to do with their external circumstance because the Bible declares it was done at a time they were tested by many troubles (2 Corinthians 8:2). This joy in giving during many troubles is supernatural and a result of the inner workings of God’s grace. According to 2 Corinthians 9:7, ‘God loves a cheerful giver’.
Grace giving is done GENEROUSLY.
The joy of the Macedonian church overflowed in rich generosity. Those who sow generously are guaranteed of reaping generously (2 Corinthians 7:6). Grace motivates us to give with liberality. When the early disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 and Acts 4, the result among others was the selfless giving by members of the church at Jerusalem. They willingly gave up their rights to their personal properties.
Grace giving is done SACRIFICIALLY.
Our New Testament models at Macedonia gave beyond their affordability. They gave beyond their convenience. They followed the pattern of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who though rich, impoverished Himself for us that we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). This type of giving is subject to lots of criticism today. The logic is that the poor should only receive from the rich and not give, but the grace of God enables the poor to give the little they have.
Grace giving is done WILLINGLY.
There is no room for legalistic giving in the New Testament. No giving should be done as a matter of compulsion. Levies are unscriptural and no form of giving in the Old Testament is mandatory in the New. We are all to give at all times as we have purposed in our hearts (2 Corinthians 9:7). Paul made it clear to the Corinthians that he was not commanding them to give (2 Corinthians 8:8).
Grace giving is done HOLISTICALLY.
The Macedonians first gave themselves to the Lord. The overflow of their love for and surrender to the Lord led to their submission to the Apostles also. Over and above our material resources, God wants our hearts and our souls. You are more precious to God than your money. When your generosity is an overflow of your affection for the Lord and for His people, He is well pleased (2 Corinthians 8:5).
Grace Giving is done PROPORTIONATELY.
The more blessed we are, the more we ought to give. We ought to give in a commensurate way to our income. This suggests to me that God expects our giving to be planned in a way to ensure continuous generosity in tandem with an increase in income.
Grace Giving is done EXPECTANTLY.
Every farmer plants with the expectation of a harvest in multiples of the measure in which he plants. Our giving is described in agricultural terminology of sowing and reaping. We are promised an Overflow if we sow bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6, Galatians 6:7) Expect needs to be met, gratitude to go to God and affectionate prayer to be raised for you.
Grace Giving is done CONSISTENTLY.
This ensures that needs are met at the end of the day. A portion (or percentage) of everyone’s income should be given on a weekly basis.
Grace Giving is done ANONYMOUSLY.
All the focus of Grace Giving as Paul admonished the Corinthians was the joy and gratitude that will result in the hearts of the poor saints at Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 9:11-13). They will glorify God and not man. They will pray for the Corinthians who they will not know by name. The heart seized by grace wants to see needs met and God glorified. It has no personal agenda nor hopes of self-aggrandizement. Its motive is not political gains nor even recognition by the community. It seeks no human accolades nor gratitude. All that satisfies such a pure heart is that God is glorified.