I have always thought of tithing or giving as support for the Church. While this is a very important aspect of our call to give to the Church, it is only a portion of this call from God. What 2 Corinthians chapter 9 teaches us is what giving produces in us and other people. It is always interesting, and I fall into this as well, that we do these things God commands of us (giving, praying, and loving) and we do them because we want to obey and “help” other people. What it actually produces in us as individuals is equally beautiful and transformative.
In 2 Corinthians 9:11-14, Paul says, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.”
Paul is saying something here that I think we forget; when we obey God in His commandments, we see Him differently, we see the Gospel differently. Giving (of our time, money, and resources) produces thanksgiving in us and when we are thankful we worship and serve God more abundantly. Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV) says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’”
We serve an amazing God who should consume us! In order for us to be consumed by Him, we must be thankful for all He has done for us. When we allow this to change us, we can be used to shine a light to those around us. We see this in 2 Corinthians, “By their approval of this service, THEY will glorify God because of your submission” (emphasis mine). Obeying God proclaims the Gospel! For all of my rule followers out there, this makes my heart sing!
As we continue to grow in His Word, we cannot forget this, we must seek out and be faithful to everything that points people to the Gospel. I am writing this during our COVID pandemic, and when you read this, who knows what the world will be like, but this I know to be true now and in the future, we are called to proclaim the Gospel, in big ways and small ways. Are you being faithful to the things of God? Are you being faithful to the Gospel even when the world around you may be burning down? Obedience to Him is one way to ensure you are proclaiming the Gospel.