Grace comes down, joy rises up, generosity flows out

JP: Good read on the theology behind giving. I encourage you to read the entire article.

Giving Is from God – The ministry of giving evokes gratitude to God because its source is rooted in his grace.

Excerpts:

The biblical fact of the matter is that, ultimately speaking, God has no need of us.

I know this cuts deeply into our sense of self-importance, but look closely at what the apostle Paul said to the Athenian philosophers: “He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25). In another text, Paul extols God precisely because “from him and through him and to him are all things” (Rom. 11:36). If God already owns everything and is in himself perfectly complete, what do we think we could possibly add to his already immeasurably sufficient being? The truth is that the God of the Bible is the kind of God whose greatest delight comes not from making demands but from meeting needs.


… our God is a God of infinite, immeasurable wealth. He owns everything that is. He does not stand in need of gifts or offerings or contributions as if he were poor and helpless and dependent. We are the poor, the helpless, the dependent ones. God is always the giver. We are always the getters. We simply must understand this if we are to progress in growth in our Christian lives and in our pursuit of holiness.

Grace comes down, joy rises up, generosity flows out. It is because of divine grace that they [the Macedonians] experienced joy, and because they experienced such joy in grace that they gave so generously.


When poverty-stricken Macedonians beg Paul for the privilege of giving money to other poor saints, we may assume that this is what they want to do, not just ought to do, or have to do, but really long to do. It is their joy — an extension of their joy in God. To be sure, they are ‘denying themselves’ whatever pleasures or comforts they could have from the money they give away, but the joy of extending God’s grace to others is a far better reward than anything money could buy. The Macedonians have discovered the labor of Christian Hedonism: love. It is the overflow of joy in God which gladly meets the needs of others.


… Paul says that this ministry of giving evokes gratitude to God, for all giving has its source in his grace (verse 12b). Then again in verse 13, as they contemplate your giving, says Paul, they will be prompted to glorify God (verse 13a), something that makes sense only if it is God who is ultimately serving us by supplying the resources to give.

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