For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. – 2 Corinthians 8:9
The gospel of Jesus Christ fundamentally changes the way we view our lives and relate to the resources entrusted to us – our time, money, possessions, and energy. Jesus came that we might have life to the full (John 10:10). By his poverty, we become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). By his work, we are brought from a place of vulnerability, scarcity, and fear into a kingdom of abundance, grace, and generosity.
In light of the riches we’ve received in Christ, we are free – compelled even – to use the resources we steward for the sake of his Kingdom, reflecting his generosity in our love.
Giving Is an Act of Worship
When we give in this way, in response to what He has done, we are giving in worship. We are worshipping. “In view of God’s mercy, offer yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). The only viable response to God’s extravagant mercy revealed in Christ Jesus is complete surrender. We offer all that we are and all that we have to him as living sacrifices in worship.
Our offerings given in worship are holy and pleasing to God. By giving back of that which He has entrusted to us, we are acknowledging him as provider and relying on him for our “daily bread.”
Giving Facilitates the Worship of the People
From the early days, when God made a people for himself, He instructed them to tithe. Ten percent of all production was given to facilitate the corporate worship of God’s people. The tithed funds and resources provided a livelihood for the priests and Levites (Numbers 18:21–24) as well as furnishings and accoutrements for the Temple. In the New Testament, believers were instructed to give as they were able and even beyond their ability to support the work, worship, and growth of the Church (2 Cor. 8:3). Giving to support church leaders and elders was also encouraged (1 Cor. 9:14, Gal. 6:6).
For the people of God, worship is an essential and formational corporate endeavor. We all share in the responsibility of making worship a reality for the sake of our community.
Giving Empowers Ministry
The early Christian Church was distinguished by its radical generosity. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:44-45, 47). The Roman emperor Julian wrote, “[The Christians’] success lies in their charity to strangers…the impious Galileans [Christians] support both their own poor and ours as well!” Our giving provides the pool of resources from which we care for one another and demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways to our hurting neighbors. In other words, the mission of the Church is funded by the Spirit-led generosity of individual believers. “Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
We give in honor and worship to the One who has given us everything, and He multiplies what we offer to build His Kingdom. It is our privilege and joy to trust Him in surrender.