Scripture Text: 2 Corinthians 9
Memory Verse: “But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
Lesson Aim: To share the importance and benefits of giving God’s way.
In Lesson 3, we mentioned how millions ignore God’s basic and simple laws concerning tithing and giving. For many people, giving is a sensitive issue. It touches the core of their being.
Why is giving important? Well, giving is a reflection of God’s character. God is a giving God, a genuine giver, and the most generous. He has given us life, the earth, power and dominion, and most of all, the gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus the Messiah (John 3:16). Through this sacrificial gift, God gave us redemption, justification, and reconciliation. Giving is important to God.
Our selfish nature is wired to receive rather than give. We are born that way and the world system reinforces that nature. However, God wants His people to move from being takers to givers.
God wanted Israel to be the example to the world. He established a system for giving in Israel. They gave: (1) sacrifices to God; (2) tithes to the Levites and the poor; and (3) freewill offerings. Sacrifices were given directly to the Lord and required the Israelites to give their best to God in thanksgiving, dedication, intercession, praise and worship, as well as repentance.
The tithe (one tenth) was established to provide income for the Levites and for the poor. Israel tithed of their crops and animals. The tithe is holy to the Lord (Leviticus 27:30). God promised to bless those who tithed and pronounced a curse on those who did not (Malachi 3:8, 9).
Freewill offerings were given for special projects. People contributed only if they wanted to, only those with willing hearts. At times, the people gave so much that they had to stop them from giving more (Exodus 36:5-7).
The 1st Century church was a giving church. They gave of their substance, their possessions, their hospitality. They took care of the local needs of the brethren, as well as those far away. Should the 21st Century church be any different?
Why should we give? Here are five reasons: (1) God gives; (2) God commands us to give; (3) we are thankful; (4) we want heavenly treasure; and (5) we want our needs supplied.
Here are a few principles that should govern how we give.
1) Understand that God owns everything under heaven (Job 41:11). We are just His stewards. A steward is not the owner, but the caretaker. Once you grasp this critical concept, it will change your view of your finances. It all belongs to God—100 percent, and as stewards, we must give an account of what we do with God’s resources (Matthew 25:14-30).
2) Determine where your treasure is. Your heart will be where your treasure is (Luke 12:34). Our treasure should be in the Kingdom—eternity, not the earth realm. This is significant because it is so easy to see things only from the temporal and be so caught up in the cares of life and deceitfulness of riches that we lose sight of the Kingdom.
3) Realize that giving is the cure for greed and materialism. Generosity will kill greed. You cannot be a true giver and covetous.
4) Give generously and cheerfully. We should be happy when we give, understanding that, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It is better to be on the giving end.
5) Give thoughtfully and appropriately (2 Corinthians 9:7). Giving should be a conscious and reverent act of worship. Give all God asks for and take all He gives.
Interact with God’s Word:
- Discuss the importance and impact of giving in Israel, the 1st Century church, and today.
- Discuss the six principles that should govern our giving. How are they relevant? Job 41:11; Luke 12:33-34; 16:10-13; Proverbs 21:25-26; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:7
- What is the blessing of giving cheerfully? 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
- What is wrong with this statement, “If God is blessing me by supplying my needs, what He gives me should be for me to do what I want and not for someone else”?
- For each of the following terms, write your thoughts of what comes to mind when considering giving: Joy, Prayer, Finances, Welfare, and Sacrifice.