Bible Studies for Life lesson for April 25- The Right Support
April 14 2010 by A. Shane Nixon, Director of Church and Community Relations, Baptist Retirement Homes

Focal Passages: 2 Corinthians 8:8-15; 9:6-11

As I write this, my church is right in the middle of a major “stewardship campaign.” We are seeking to raise an overwhelming amount of money, for an obviously good reason, with some incredibly good help. And while the enormity of the task is not lost on me, the first thing our “campaign consultant” said was that we had to always focus on this being “over and above” our normal giving. The tithe, he emphasized, quickly, was not part of this.   

Paul isn’t, necessarily, talking to the church about tithing. But I think it is important that we realize that the tithe is the starting point for Christian giving. Without it, there is no foundation upon which other giving can be built.

Paul’s assumption with the Corinthian church is one I am afraid might no longer be valid with us today. Paul believed that giving “to the church” was a given, and so he began his teaching to them talking about other charitable giving.

It is not that God needs our money. He does not. But we need to give it. It is an act of worship, a show of sacrifice that, when done correctly brings us closer to God. But even teaching “giving” in the church context is almost a thing of the past. 

Most of the things we know about giving are cliché, scriptural or true for sure, but nonetheless cliché. We can all say with assurance that God loves a cheerful giver. We all know that it is not about, say it with me now, equal giving, but equal sacrifice.

We can’t help but remember that we can’t “out-give God.” But do we know HOW to give? Do we have the foundation of the tithe on which to build a strong giving principle?

Paul takes the time to write to the Corinthian church about giving. He instructs them very precisely and very specifically about not just that they should, but how they should. And while we have (unfortunately) made most of those things cliché to the point of trite, they are still very important.

I don’t know if my church will make its goal or not. Did I mention the amount was huge? But whether we do or not, we are using this time to relearn the principles of Christian giving.  Given that, I don’t think we can lose.
4/14/2010 5:35:00 AM by A. Shane Nixon, Director of Church and Community Relations, Baptist Retirement Homes | with 1 comments




Comments
Brent Hobbs
[i]Without it, there is no foundation upon which other giving can be built. [/i]

I imagine if Paul had agreed with that statement, he might have said so at some point. Instead, he says our giving should be what we have decided in our hearts to give, and not under compulsion. Telling people they are supposed to give at least ten percent sounds like compulsion to me.
4/14/2010 1:00:59 PM