Day 4 – So that you will have something to give to the Lord. 2 Corinthians 9:1-14
As God established the Law of Moses, He included numerous requirements for giving to those charged with conducting public worship and meeting the needs of the people. These gifts were considered to be gifts to the Lord and included the tithe as well as the giving of alms and other offerings. The New Testament church continued the tradition of receiving gifts from her fellowship for the purposes of worship, the spreading of the Gospel, and the meeting of needs. Again these gifts are considered to be giving to the Lord. The privilege of contributing to the spread of the Gospel and the meeting of needs is a third reason that believers should be faithful in their vocation.
This passage in 2 Corinthians highlights the sharing nature of the early church. Paul was instructing the Corinthian church regarding the needs of sister churches in Macedonia and their responsibility to provide assistance. Notice how he dealt with the preferred attitude of the giver. They were to give cheerfully and as directed by the Spirit. There were not to give out of duty or some prescribed rule. The ones who were prepared to give to this offering were the ones who had worked and accumulated a treasure chest with some resources in order to be able to give cheerfully.
On several occasions through the writing this week, I have reminded you of the judgment seat of Christ and the rewards to be given due to our faithfulness. This passage speaks not only of heavenly rewards for faithfulness in generosity, but also immediate rewards. In fact, Paul connects a bountiful harvest with a bountiful investment. He is suggesting an earthly reward based upon a present act. God will bless the cheerful giver.
The idea of giving a tithe, or 10% of your income to the church, has come under great scrutiny by modern-day Bible teachers and students. They tend to view it as legalism and part of the Old Testament system rather than included in the New Covenant of Christ’s blood. But the principle is key to understanding how God made man to work. One reason to work is to be able to give to God. While observing the law of the tithe in the Old Testament, the laborer had a keen sense that at least 10% of his return was going to the Lord. Regardless of where you find yourself in regard to the need for a tithe under the New Covenant, finding some way to remind yourself that part of your reason to work is to give to the Lord is a key factor in your relationship with Christ.