A topic people often shy away from is money. Whether it be with your spouse, family, friends, or on occasion even within the church, money can be uncomfortable to discuss. Money, especially the aspect of generosity, was a subject the Bible did not avoid. There must be an understanding when talking about money inside the context of God’s people, that God is the one who owns everything around us. With that being said, any pastor or church staff who is seeking to gain by utilizing the Gospel of Jesus as their means will be dealt with by God. Inasmuch as any church member who does not obediently utilize the financial blessings they are given to further the cause of Christ, will be dealt with by God.
We do not know the exacts of every issue that the church of Corinth faced, but it would appear the church was somehow always in a mess. It makes sense that they are also in a mess of a situation in regards to giving. In 2 Corinthians chapter 9, money is brought up, which leads us to believe that it was a topic of concern. The Apostle Paul writes, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 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” (2 Corinthians 9:10-12).
Paul starts with an understanding of where we get our finances. He brings us back to the reality that what we have comes from God. Paul then indicates that God does not give us health, wealth, or abilities just to hoard them to ourselves. If I gave you an apple seed, and you did nothing with it, that seed is rendered useless. The seed only becomes useful if you take it, plant it, care for it, and allow it to grow into its full potential. “The message is free but the means might cost you” was a way I heard one person explain giving to me easily in my walk. Since God commands us to give, and commands us to reach the world, what if we do neither? What if you only do one, is that any less disobedient? No sincere Christian would stand by and not disagree with the contradiction of a non-evangelical Christian. Yet, we are perfectly fine with a non-generous Christian.
For you, when you give, how do you view that? Is it a check in the box as a task completed? Do you give begrudgingly, thinking of other things that money could be used for? Or do you give in thanksgiving to God? “That seed that would be useless if I did nothing with it” has unlimited potential when used properly. In the same way, God seeks to use our generosity in our giving, whether that giving be money, time, or abilities, to create unlimited effects. One aspect of American culture that has seeped its way into the church is the sense of individualism. When I read 2 Corinthians chapter 9, I do think there is the individual’s call to reflect and give according to those verses. I also think what if a church focuses on every member giving in this way. Imagine the kind of overflow we at The River would see.