The Economics of God and Giving
Not long ago, our church's "Stewardship Sunday" would feature an announcement by someone in our Finance Committee encouraging congregants to make a pledge for the coming year, so we could budget accordingly. Having a sense of how much we're going to receive in offerings is helpful for being good stewards of our money, but it occurred to us elders a few years back that stewardship is primarily a spiritual issue and not a financial one, so we asked to take on the announcement. This year was my turn to give the announcement, and I read from 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, making three points along the way:
1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
Surely our congregation can relate to affliction and deep poverty.
3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,
Wow. Giving, giving more, and begging to give still more. All so that they might have the privilege of participating in the support of the saints. Would that we have such an attitude when we give.
5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
Aha, so there it is. We give ourselves first to God and to each other. And that was my challenge to our congregation, to do just that.
I closed by reading a couple of nearby verses:
8:9 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.
9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.
It is a strange faith we practice, that we are made rich through Someone's poverty, and that when we give we end up with more and not less. Such is the economics of God and giving.