A Testament to Generosity

Read 2 Corinthians 8:9 …

Last week we examined some of the Old Testament and saw an emphasis on giving – specifically of wealth. This week we look to the New Testament to see an equally important role placed upon the giving of our wealth. The real bottom line to remember from both Testaments is not that people gave of their money, but why people gave of their money. From the OT we see that why people gave was to honor God for his mercy, his glory, his blessings, or his helping hand in difficult situations. In the NT the same is true, that we give to honor God for his mercy, his glory, his blessings, of his helping hand in difficult situations; but now, that recognition is uniquely recognized in the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich he became poor for our sakes.

V.P. Black makes the point that all through the Gospels we read about giving. There are 89 chapters across Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and giving is discussed 123 times in these four books. Impressively we should realize that the primary recorded speaker in these histories is Jesus Christ, so that subject often came from the Lord’s own lips.

As recorded in Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus reminds us that the proper place to store up our treasures is in heaven, not on earth. This means that true treasure is not measured in the material or monetary wealth a person has, but in the method by which that person lives. Jesus highlighted the way a person was to regard their money by the praise he gave a poor widow that gave all she had to God’s storehouse (Mark 12:41-44). Jesus commended the extravagance of Mary in the breaking of the alabaster box, a gift that gave honor and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:1-8). Both women were sending treasures ahead, not grasping at temporary glory or riches that rust.

Where Jesus is found commending those of a generous heart, he is also found condemning those that turn their back on their fellows – refusing a generous spirit. The rich man that brought in a plentiful harvest granted by God decided to keep all that bounty for himself and was noted to be a fool. Why? Because he refused to recognize his responsibility to others when he laid his treasures up on earth, not in heaven (Luke 12:16-21). When attempting to help an expert in the law understand the true nature of being neighborly, Jesus related the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). In that parable it is the priest and the Levite that refuse to extend themselves for the benefit of another. When the Samaritan comes along he not only extends to the wounded man time and effort, but also extends his goods and money. The lack of generosity in the priest and Levite becomes the example of how the Christian should NOT behave.

In Acts we find giving (Acts 2:44-45; 20:35). In the writings of Paul, we find giving (Rom. 12:13; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:5; 9:7; Gal. 2:10; Phil. 4:15-16; 1 Tim. 5:8; 6:9-10). Peter also reminds us to be generous (1 Pet. 4:10). John also joins the fray (1 John 3:17). James does not neglect to remind Christians to be generous (Jam. 2:15-16; 5:1-6).

The position of the Spirit as seen thru the writers of the NT is undeniable on this subject … the Christian gives to others because of what has been given. The Christian shows compassion because of the compassion that has been shown. The Christian does good and shares from what he has because this is pleasing to God (Heb. 13:16).

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