Christian Stewardship Involves Growing in Grace
II Corinthians 9:6-8
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”
We are all stewards of God’s possessions. Everything that we have is a gift from God, and we are responsible to manage the affairs of our life for the furtherance of His kingdom. Truthfully, it is not a matter of how much of my money I am going to give to God; but how much of God’s money I am going to keep for myself. We get nowhere in Christian stewardship unless we as Christians acknowledge that God owns it all, and we are just stewards of what He has given to us. Within the Apostle Paul’s writings, he uses nine different words to talk about an offering. He uses words like “bounty,” “giving,” and “ministering.” The one word that he uses more than any is the word “grace.” He describes giving as “a grace.” Grace is a disposition created in your heart. It is not by your flesh or your will or your knowledge. It is something that is done in your heart by the Holy Spirit of God. Paul is appealing to the church of Corinth at a high spiritual level, which he calls a “grace of giving.” Even the desire to give to the work of the Lord must begin with the Holy Spirit working in my heart. How do you know when you are growing in the grace of Christian stewardship? What is the benchmark? It is not comparing yourself with someone else. The benchmark is the Bible. Someone who is growing in the grace of giving is going to show forth at least five attributes that Paul talks about in II Corinthians chapter eight.
Grace Givers Are Generous
II Corinthians 8:1-2 says,
“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”
In verse 2 there is a little equation that shows the power of God. It is simply affliction +poverty +grace =joy and liberality. This was grace that was working in the lives of this church at Macedonia. When you experience God’s grace, your circumstances will not hold you back. Paul says in II Corinthians 9:6,
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
There is nothing wrong with bountiful giving. New Christians may not under- stand that giving is just a representation of what is going on in a man’s heart.
Grace Givers Are Responsive
It says in II Corinthians 8:3,
“For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves.”
These people did what they could, and then they went beyond that and did that which they normally would not have been able to do. God’s grace had affected their hearts and their hands so that they desired to be a part. They had a responsive, willing heart; which is evidence of someone who is growing in grace as a Christian.
Paul said in verse 4, “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”
These Macedonian churches came to the apostle Paul and begged him to take the offering so they would not lose the blessing. God was working in their hearts, and they were excited to be a part of the work of God going forward. That is an attribute that no preacher can conjure up. When a person wants to help and is excited to be a part, God is working in that person’s heart.
Grace Givers Are Amenable
In II Corinthians 8:13, Paul says,
“For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened.”
Sometimes some of you might think this whole thing of giving and steward- ship is unreasonable and not fair. God is not trying to rip you off or trying to burden you with the expenses of someone else. It is an amenable thing, or something to which we can agree. If you have been bought with the blood of Jesus Christ, then it is entirely fair that you and I become involved. In II Corinthians 8:14, it states,
“But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.”
The only thing that is not fair is when some Christians do not give at all. We enjoy the lighting, the heating, the pews, the preaching, the program; but we just do not give. God is not asking you to do more than your share; He is asking you to do your share. I Corinthians 16:2,
“Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
God is not asking everyone to do the exact same. It is not equal giving; it is equal sacrifice.
Grace Giving Is Continual
II Corinthians 9:2 says,
“For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.”
When we give, we are encouraging others to do the same. That is not the only reason to give, but it is a true principle.
II Corinthians 9:6-7 “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart...”
God wants us to have the right heart in the matter; and when we give, we are investing in our own future. Many Christians become spiritual and sometimes financially poor because God blesses them, and they never honor God. The Bible says when we invest and sow bountifully; we are going to reap bountifully. Luke 6:38 says,
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Thank God that He is able and that He provides. As we give, He blesses. One man said it this way, “God shovels it in; I shovel it out. God shovels it in; I shovel it out. And God has a bigger shovel.”
Grace Giving Exalts Christ
In II Corinthians 9:13, it says,
“Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men.”
When we liberally distribute, God is exalted. The Bible says in Matthew 5:16
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
The goal of every Christian should be that God is glorified by our lives. And God will be glorified as we are faithful in sharing the Gospel of Christ. A little girl received two dollars from her father and he said, “Now, you can do whatever you want with this one dollar; but the other dollar you are to give to the Lord on Sunday.” She took the money and started running to the candy store. She was thinking of all the jawbreakers and the gum she was going to buy. As she was running she fell and one of the dollars went into the gutter down a storm drain. She stood up and looked down the gutter saying, “Well, Lord, there goes your dollar.” Is that not how so many of God’s people are? May God help us to exalt Him through our giving and through our lives. In II Corinthians 8:7, Paul says,
“Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.”
Everyone is at a different spot today in the area of grace giving. It is a matter of growing in the grace which has been given to us by Jesus Christ.