2 Corinthians 9:7, 10-11
I’ve often heard it said that the last thing to be converted on a man is his pocketbook. I’ve wondered if it’s true, I’ve seen many young Christians who have come to know Jesus as their Savior. They get so excited about God’s grace and forgiveness and they want to know more. They later on want to learn more concerning God’s commandments and morality that he has given to mankind. They want to follow his word and follow his commands. But then there’s the part on giving. That seems to be very difficult for those that are immature in their faith.
Think about a young Christian who maybe doesn’t even know what they should give, what is a good and generous gift to give to the Lord? Who also maybe worries if I give generously to God and to his work or to others, will I have enough to provide for myself and provide for my family?
Well, God has really shown us all that he has provided for us, in his Word, hasn’t he? God really provides everything that we have, both spiritual and physical. We look around and see all the tremendous blessings God has given us, whether it’s our family, our home or our cars or our jobs or whatever else. I understand that there’s many times that we say, well, I put in the hard work and it was my talent and ability that earned this money for myself. We can say, yeah, God maybe created all of those things from which the stuff I have was made, but I’m the one that put in the hard work to earn my money.
Well, God even blesses us with our own bodies and our own minds and our own talents as well. If you think about it, really everything we have comes from him. And he’s provided us with so much more than merely the material things that we enjoy. He’s provided us with eternal salvation, the gift of his Son who came to suffer and die on a cross to forgive our sins so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the punishment that we deserve. But it gives us heaven as a free gift.
That same God really invites us to give and to give generously. He really calms our fears when we worry, will we have enough? In 2 Corinthians, chapter nine, the apostle Paul writes this.
God, who provides seed to the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed for sowing, and will increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you may be generous[d] in every way, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)
You see, God tells us in his Word that he’s going to take care of us. He’s going to provide us with so many blessings, so many material blessings, so that we can be generous, so that we can be generous to one another, so that we can be generous to him and to make sure that his work continues and others hear the message of salvation. He says the result of all of this is Thanksgiving.
Now, I’ve often thought about giving to the Lord is kind of an amazing gift that he offers us, not just the ability to say with our mouths, thank you, God, but to show it with our actions, to show it with the gifts that we give, to show it with our own generosity, how thankful we are. To return to the Lord some of what he has given to us. And in doing so, we also show our faith and our trust that he’s going to take care of us and continue to provide.
So the next question is, how much should I give? Well, God instructed the people in the Old Testament to give a tithe or a tenth of everything that they earned, everything that they produced. Well, God hasn’t laid that commandment on us here today in the New Testament. Rather, he invites us to give from the heart. And in that same section of scripture, the apostle Paul writes this,
Each one should give as he has determined in his heart, not reluctantly or under pressure, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
That cheer isn’t the cheer of greed, it isn’t the cheer of, well, I’m going to give as little as possible and that makes me happy because I’ll have more stuff. No, that cheer that he’s talking about is the joy of everything that God has given to us, the joy of the tremendous ways in which God has blessed us. As we see that all around us, the joy that we have in knowing that Jesus is our Savior from sin and all that he has done.
So is it true? Is the last thing to be converted on a man his pocketbook? I don’t know. May God help us in our own Christian giving, may help us to be generous, not afraid, but rather to recognize all the tremendous gifts God has given to us and to respond with generosity overflowing, which produces thanksgiving to God for all that He has done in Christ. Amen.