|Volume 18 Number 5 May 2016||
Mark N. Posey
Notice the Words of Jesus recorded in Acts 20:35; “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” This Scripture emphasizes stewardship. A steward is a manager, an overseer or a caretaker. Every Christian is a steward. A steward is never the owner; he is always the manager of what is placed into his care! What areas of stewardships do we have? We have stewardship of time (Ephesians 5:16), treasures (Matthew 6:21) and talents (1 Peter 4:10)! The matter of stewardship extends to all areas of life, such as: spiritual gifts, family and all earthly possessions. Notice the blessings of being a cheerful giver!
Privilege of Giving
God expects us to give as we have purposed and prospered (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Notice two examples: Philippians, “an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” Macedonians, “that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.” God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Promises of Giving
God promises we will have an abundant abundance (2 Corinthians 9:6-10). Sowing (v.6): In this context it speaks of one seed producing many seeds as a way of referring to abundance. Yet, first the seed must be given away (i.e., sown)! Sufficiency (v.8): Christian giving affects all of life! God provides for all needs (Matthew 6:19-34). Seed (v.10): Giving is the natural result of salvation. A stingy Christian is a contradiction in terms!
Practice of Giving
God identifies giving to be purposeful (2 Corinthians 8:3). We give out of ability (8:3a): Giving is out of what you have, not out of what you do not have! We must give sacrificially (8:3b): Giving always pinches; it is a sacrifice! We must give willingly (8:3c): No one should give under pressure. We must give with an open heart!
In conclusion, notice three important passages (Luke 6:38; Malachi 3:16; Job 1:20-21). Job lost all of his earthly possessions, including his children. How he responded was a demonstration of his morality and integrity. “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.’” Job held his possessions with an open hand and clung tightly to God. In doing so that enabled him to hold fast to his integrity and convictions. To God be the Glory!
Gary C. Hampton
Our Lord said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). It is impossible to walk in the light while hating one’s brother (1 John 2:9-11). John explained that love for God is shown through loving one’s brethren. Claiming to love the unseen God while hating our very visible brothers is foolish (4:20-21). John went so far as to say that the brother who had what another brother needed and withheld it did not have the love of God in him (3:16-19)!
Love is an essential ingredient in Christian service (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Paul concluded his discussion of love by saying, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). The apostle closed the letter urging the Corinthian brethren to, “Let all that you do be done with love” (16:14).
Effective love in God’s family must be practiced to the fullest. Peter said, “have fervent love for one another.” Vine says “fervent” means strained or stretched out. Imagine one of your children has fallen in a river and is floating downstream toward a waterfall. As you run down the bank, you see a limb extending out over the river. You climb out on the limb and reach down, only to discover you cannot quite reach out far enough. Surely, you would stretch and strain to reach that child before he went over the precipice. Christians are to stretch and strain to aid their brethren.
Christian living is like running a marathon through enemy territory (Hebrews 12:12-15). We must support each other, making special provisions for those who are weak. Bitterness must be avoided because it produces trouble and defiles. As Paul wrote, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:1-4). We need to ask ourselves daily, “What am I doing to show my love for the brethren?”