July 9

Episode 1452: In Needs and Abundance

Inspired Stewardship Podcast, Spiritual Foundations

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Join us today for an episode about the reason we give...

Today's episode is focused on 2 Corinthians 8: 7-15...

In today’s Spiritual Foundation Episode, I talk about 2 Corinthians 8: 7-15.  I share how we are called to give in times of abundance but also in times of need. I also share how we often focus on giving the wrong way.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1452: In Needs and Abundance

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 1452 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:07] Bob Brumm

[00:00:08] I'm Bob Brumm. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability. To find the positivity in life is key.

[00:00:23] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend, Scott Maderer.

[00:00:37] God will provide material blessings if it is his will and if it's part of his plan for our lives. So it's no good to go to him and say, in the words of an old song, Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz? What we give to God and how we give it shows just how much we really love him. And it shows how grateful we are for the love and the blessings we [00:01:00] receive from him.

[00:01:02] Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:34] In today's spiritual foundation episode, I talk about second Corinthians chapter eight, verses seven through 15. I share how we are all called to give in times of abundance, but also in times of need. And I also share how we often focus on giving the wrong way. 2 Corinthians chapter 8 verses 7 through 15 says, Now as you excel in everything, in faith and speech, [00:02:00] in knowledge and utmost eagerness, and in our love for you, so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

[00:02:07] I do not say this as a command. But I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice.

[00:02:26] It is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something, but even to desire to do something. Now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has. Not according to what one does not have.

[00:02:47] I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but that is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need in order, that there [00:03:00] may be a fair balance as it is written. The one who had much, did not have too much, and the one who had little, did not have too little.

[00:03:11] Imagine for a minute that a large church burned to the ground somewhere here in South Texas, and that all of the congregations of the district that we belong to were asked to help rebuild it by collecting an offering. Every congregation was asked, all but one. This little congregation could hardly afford to keep going.

[00:03:31] They had some ministries and some activities, but they could barely support a pastor of their own. They were elderly, they all lived on fixed incomes, and small fixed incomes at that. This was the kind of congregation that many people would just write off. They should disband and join other churches.

[00:03:50] That would be more practical. Yet this congregation begged and pleaded to gather an offering. No one thought they should. No one expected they would. But they [00:04:00] did. They gathered an offering. It was more than their fair share. In fact, it was more than anyone thought they were able. It was an offering to God.

[00:04:10] It was a testament to the power of God and to his promises. It was motivated by God's love. It was an example for all the rest. Not once did they complain that they had their own problems. Not once did they complain that an offering should be taken up for them instead. No, they freely and joyfully gave.

[00:04:29] Matter of fact, this is not an imaginary congregation. It once really existed, and it was called the Macedonian Church. I just changed a few of the details in the place. The Macedonians had a Sunday morning offering every Sunday, just like most of us do in the church that we go to today, and they pleaded to have the privilege of being a part of the collection being taken up for the church.

[00:04:54] They were a poor church in some ways, but rich in others. They had heard about the need, how the [00:05:00] Christians in Jerusalem were socially and economically excluded because of their faith, and how these brothers and sisters in Christ were suffering the effects of famine and double taxation, and how they were still trying to bear the burden of being the mother church.

[00:05:14] So the Macedonians gave. They gave sacrificially. They gave joyfully. They gave themselves. They even gave beyond their ability. And this is the example that Paul shows the Corinthians, and to us, in the passage right before the one I just read. It occurs in verses 1 through 6 of 2 Corinthians chapter 8.

[00:05:38] Where it says, and now brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches in the midst of a very severe trial. Their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity for, I testified that they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability.

[00:05:58] Entirely on their own. [00:06:00] They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord's people, and they exceeded our expectations. They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.

[00:06:22] And that's the context of this passage that I just read from the lectionary. That was the before. So what was the secret? What was their power? What was their reason? Did the Macedonians give out of a sense of duty? A sense of obligation? A sense of that's what you're supposed to be doing or else?

[00:06:45] And the answer, at least according to Paul, is no. Instead, it was because of a savior who had become poor for them. Pay attention to this. The example of Macedonian church is about money. and offerings, but it is about [00:07:00] a lot more than that. They gave themselves, it says. They gave themselves to God, it says.

[00:07:09] And instead of commanding the Corinthians to get going and do the same, Paul simply reminds them of the grace, the undeserved love. of a savior who became poor for us. See, that's where it starts. That's what it's all about. That's where the offerings are supposed to flow from. That's the difference between I have to, and I get to give.

[00:07:35] The difference between following the rules and living in grace, or in this case, giving in grace. Let's talk about the church in Corneth that is addressed in the part of the scripture that I just read earlier. The church in Korneth had a lot of different things going on, and a lot of different things that we can point out.

[00:07:59] There, [00:08:00] there are several aspects to giving through grace as opposed to giving through the rules. First off, grace giving is systematic. Paul told the Corinthians to abound in this grace. He implied that this is a framework from which they can, and we can, grow in faith as Christians. Giving can be spontaneous, but it can and should be planned as well.

[00:08:24] There are several examples in the New Testament of planned giving by the church and by individuals. of a commitment to give, and that's the start of a system of giving. Grace giving is sincere. It reflects a believer's love for God and a sincere desire to expand the ministry of the church. God does not need our gifts to expand his ministry because he owns everything, but he does allow our gifts to be used as a small part of expanding his ministry.

[00:08:57] Grace giving is steadfast. [00:09:00] It continues regardless of our circumstances. It doesn't matter if we are rich or poor, doesn't matter if we're doing well or if we're struggling, it doesn't matter at all. And closely connected to this is the concept that grace giving involves sharing with others. The purpose of the giving must be to meet equally the needs of both the world and of the church and spiritual growth.

[00:09:25] The one who has much can share much, and the one who has little is able to share little. And as God's people share in proportion to what God has entrusted them with, the needs of the whole body of Christ are met. Giving to God and his work is voluntary, not compelled. Because when it is voluntary, it brings many blessings.

[00:09:46] And not all of the gifts have to even be financial, they can be spiritual as well. In the time that Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, the Gentile believers could contribute financially, while Jewish believers could [00:10:00] contribute spiritually and with ministry and other actions. And we're allowed to do that today.

[00:10:06] We can see generosity acted out in another person, and therefore it's easier for us to understand it, identify with it, and follow their example. It's easier when we see that others are doing it. Giving is more a matter of the heart than of the circumstances. Paul used the example of the church in Macedonia, which I mentioned a few minutes ago.

[00:10:28] Poverty does not automatically create unselfishness, nor does persecution automatically produce giving. Those who claim that they were much happier when they had less, or for that matter, when they had more, must remember that it isn't what we have or don't have that should be promoting happiness or generosity.

[00:10:48] What does matter is the grace of God within us. That grace creates an open and generous heart. That grace sets an example of humility, and [00:11:00] from that, a way of loving others. Being humble means making sacrifices, but when we remember that all good things are gifts from God, then we are free to give them up for the good of others.

[00:11:12] When people give generously out of a love for God and his church, they grow and they mature in their faith. They don't count the cost. Joy and Christian growth come to those who do the Lord's work gladly. Joyful giving flows from the gift of self. When we give from the heart, we give one of the greatest gifts we can give.

[00:11:33] God is most concerned with the heart. of the giver, and not the amount that he or she gives. Our giving reflects our attitude toward money. Money can control us or hurt us, or we can control money and bless others. Is money the servant or the master? Giving to our church shows our love for God. Giving also shows that we want to help the less [00:12:00] fortunate, and that we want to share the cost of having a church.

[00:12:04] Giving can be fun! Especially if we treat it as a competition to try to out give God. We must remember though that this is a competition that we can't win. Because no matter how much we give, we can't out give God. We can still be winners though, just for giving from the heart. The blood of Christ unites all of us, so we can't just ignore the needs of our Christian brothers and sisters.

[00:12:30] If we've been made rich by Christ and His poverty, how then can we not be generous toward the needs of others? Giving is not a one way street. Because often, the poor and those that we are giving to have an abundance to share. An abundance that includes hospitality, family values, hard work, self sacrifice, and faith in God.

[00:12:52] The grace of giving is an equalizing force in the body of Christ. Everyone has something to give, and everyone has some need to [00:13:00] be met. If we hold back our commitment to give, especially our commitment to give to the church, it means that we trust more in ourselves. Then we trust in God. And when we give to God, He will use our gift and return it to us many times over.

[00:13:16] Faith means that God will provide for us in unexpected ways and through unexpected sources. God promises spiritual blessings, but He does not promise material blessings. This is contrary to what you often hear in what's called the prosperity gospel. God will provide material blessings if it is His will and if it's part of His plan for our lives.

[00:13:37] It's no good to go to Him and say, In the words of an old song, Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz? What we give to God and how we give it shows just how much we really love him. And it shows how grateful we are for the love and the blessings we receive from him. Thanks for listening.[00:14:00]

[00:14:04] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode, do me a favor, go over to facebook. com slash inspired stewardship and like our Facebook page and market that you'd like to get notifications from us so that we can connect with you on Facebook and make sure that we're serving you to the best of our abilities with time and tips there.

[00:14:47] Until next time, invest your time. Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact the [00:15:00] world.


In today's episode, I talk with you about:

  • 2 Corinthians 8: 7-15...
  • How we are called to give in times of abundance but also in times of need...How we often focus on giving the wrong way.
  • and more.....

I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. – 2 Corinthians 8: 8

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About the author 

Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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