Since we have been talking about spiritual gifts for the last four weeks, I thought I would conclude this series with a message on the Gift of Giving. I have a few reasons for wanting to talk about giving today. My main reason is that most modern pastors push or command tithing on their people. But tithing was Old Covenant Law and passed away when the law passed away. I have been saying over and over through this series on the gifts that all the gifts ended by AD 70. The command to tithe also ended in AD 70.
This message is not about the gift of giving as much as it is about what the Bible says about tithing and giving.
Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8 ESV
The Greek word here for "gifts" is charisma which means "gift of grace" or "free gift." As you look at the context, I think it is clear that Paul is dealing with the subject of spiritual gifts. Paul lists seven spiritual gifts in this text.
What is a spiritual gift? A spiritual gift is a God-given capacity through which the Holy Spirit supernaturally ministers to the body of Christ.
"Contributes" is a compound Greek word metadidomi, (met-ad-id'-o-mee). Didomi is the normal word for give, but metadidomi means to super give. There seems to have been some people who were gifted by the Spirit of God to be super givers. This gift is one of the twenty spiritual gifts mentioned in Scripture. This is the gift that Pastors wish all of their church members had. What exactly is the gift of giving?
Bereans, we really have no idea what this gift was or how the person who had it demonstrated it. The gift of giving is listed only in this list of the gifts and that is all we know about it. So other than the fact that there was this gift, we know nothing about it. Period.
Some men believe that they know what this gift was. Maybe they have the word of wisdom. Dr. Larry Gilbert writes the following about the gift of giving: "Everyone should tithe, but the Giver goes far beyond the tithe. Givers have the attitude that tithing is the outward evidence of an inward commitment. Tithing is not giving 10 percent; it's receiving 90 percent. It is a commandment for all Christians. The gift of Giving starts where tithing ends." [https://churchgrowth.org/do-you-have-the-spiritual-gift-of-giving/]
So, according to Dr. Gilbert, the gift of giving was a supernatural ability to give more than a tithe. But does everyone who gives more that 10% have the gift of giving? Is tithing a commandment for all Christians? Are those who don't tithe sinning?
Greg Laurie of Harvest.org writes this about the gift of giving: "While it's true that God has given certain people the gift of giving, it is also true that every Christian should give to the Lord on a regular basis."
God makes this amazing promise to the faithful giver: "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,' says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, 'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test'" (Malachi 3:10 NLT).
Those with the gift of giving share their own possessions with others with extraordinary generosity. While all Christians should be givers, those possessing this gift will go beyond this normal giving." [Duffield and Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, pp. 348–49].
He makes it sound as though "normal giving" for the Christian is tithing. But is tithing commanded for all Christians? Is tithing normal giving? Is the gift of giving the ability to give above and beyond the tithe?
WHAT IS TITHING?
Does the Bible teach that we are to give 10%? I heard a radio preacher say, "I have doubts that a person who does not tithe is a Christian." He also said, "One who does not tithe is under the condemnation of God."
This is an area of great confusion in the Christian church. Is tithing God's mandate for Christians? How many of you have been taught at some time in your Christian lives that you were supposed to tithe? How does a mandatory 10% fit with what is taught in the New Testament about giving? It doesn't! Paul devoted two whole chapters (2 Corinthians 8 and 9) to the subject of stewardship and the word "tithe" is not mentioned. The church's teaching on tithing is legal; it is Old Covenant. I once attended a Baptist church that used a campaign slogan, "Tithing is Christian." That is wrong! Tithing is not Christian. It was for Old Covenant Israel, not New Covenant Israel, the church.
Those who teach tithing teach that we have a "God bill." You are to pay your phone bill, gas bill, power bill, sewer and water bill, your mortgage and your "God bill"—10% of your income. If you don't pay your God bill, God will send out His heavenly collection agency to take it out of your hide, so to speak. They support this teaching with verses like:
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, 'How have we robbed you?' In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Malachi 3:8-9 ESV
We see here that to not tithe was to rob God and be under a curse. Tithing was required by Mosaic Law.
"Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD's; it is holy to the LORD. Leviticus 27:30 ESV
Are believers under the Mosaic Law? No, but most churches have hung on to tithing. We don't sacrifice animals, but we must tithe. Under the Old Covenant the tithes were given to support the Levites "as their inheritance in return for the work they [did] while serving at the tent of meeting" (Numbers 18:21; cf. Deuteronomy 14:22–29).
Under the Old Covenant, the tithe was a debt; it was taxation, not giving. Just like on April 15, you don't send the IRS a gift. You pay what they unjustly say is your debt. It is required giving—if you don't pay it, you'll go to jail.
Tithing was taxation under the Mosaic economy. Some people teach that we should tithe because tithing precedes the law. They teach that Abraham and Jacob gave a tithe before the law and, therefore, tithing should also be after the law. That's like saying that since the sacrificial system was actually initiated before the law, then we should still be making animal sacrifices today.
The first mention of the tithe is found in Genesis.
and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!" And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. Genesis 14:20 ESV
When Abram saw Melchizedek, who represented God, he wanted to express his thanks to God for the victory, so he gave him a tenth of the spoil. He wasn't told to do this; it was voluntary. This incident is mentioned in Hebrews 7.
See how great this man was to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! Hebrews 7:4 ESV
The word "spoils" here is the Greek word krothinion, which means "the top of the heap, the best of the spoils." Abram gave a tenth of the best, not of the whole.
There is evidence that many pagan deities were honored by the giving of a tenth. Ten represented totality, so the giving of a tenth was a symbol of the giving of the whole.
The next use of the word "tithe" is in Genesis 28.
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you." Genesis 28:20-22 ESV
Jacob was nowhere commanded to give a tenth; this was completely voluntary on his part. Who gave the first offering? Cain and Abel. It was voluntary as far as we know. Noah got off the ark and gave God an offering—it was voluntary. Before the Mosaic economy, tithing is only mentioned twice, with no command to do it. During the Mosaic economy, tithing became a familiar term. As we study the Tanakh, we see that there were actually three tithes.
1. THE LEVITE'S TITHE.
"Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD's; it is holy to the LORD. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman's staff, shall be holy to the LORD. One shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed." Leviticus 27:30-33 ESV
We are told in Numbers that the tithe was collected and given to the Levites.
"To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting, Numbers 18:21 ESV
For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the LORD, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore, I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel." Numbers 18:24 ESV
The Levites didn't have the privilege of a piece of property that they could work to make their living like the other tribesmen. They were to do the Lord's work in the tabernacle and temple, and so God provided for their needs. Old Covenant Israel was a Theocracy—a government by the rule of God, mediated through the priests. The tithe was collected to support the government. It was taxation, and it was mandatory!
2. THE FESTIVAL TITHE.
and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. And there you shall eat before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the LORD your God has blessed you. Deuteronomy 12:6-7 ESV
"You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God chooses Deuteronomy 14:22-25 ESV
This is a second tithe. It was taken to the central sanctuary for the Feast sacrifices. It was to promote unity.
We have the Levites' tithe and the Festival tithe which together comes to 20%. There was also one other.
3. POOR TITHE.
"At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do. Deuteronomy 14:28-29 ESV
Once every three years there was a special additional income tax in order to take care of the poor in the land. This was the "poor tithe" or "welfare tithe." They were also to leave the corners of their fields unharvested for the poor.
Their tithe or taxation worked out to about 25% per year. This isn't much different from the taxation in our country.
Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, 'How have we robbed you?' In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. Malachi 3:8-10 ESV
If you have been in the church for any length of time, I'm sure you have heard these verses used to promote tithing. What they are really teaching is that if an Israelite didn't pay his tithe/taxes, he was robbing God. The tithe was taxation in the Theocracy. The "storehouse" was the temple treasury. Tithing was mandatory under the Old Covenant, but giving was always voluntary.
In reference to the offerings for the Temple, notice what was said.
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. Exodus 25:1-2 ESV
There is no 10% mentioned here.
Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, "This is the thing that the LORD has commanded. Take from among you a contribution to the LORD. Whoever is of a generous heart, let him bring the LORD's contribution: gold, silver, and bronze; Exodus 35:4-5 ESV
And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the LORD's contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So, they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the LORD. Exodus 35:21-22 ESV
There is no percentage mentioned here. They were to give voluntarily out of a willing heart.
and said to Moses, "The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the LORD has commanded us to do." So, Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, "Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary." So, the people were restrained from bringing, Exodus 36:5-6 ESV
This is something you will never hear a preacher say, "Stop giving, we have enough." But the biblical mandate was that when enough was collected, "The people were restrained from bringing." The people willingly gave so much that they had to be restrained from giving.
When David wanted to build a temple, notice what the people's attitude was on giving.
Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly. 1 Chronicles 29:9 ESV
Notice what the proverbs say on giving:
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV
Giving is worship and it was voluntary. No amount was specified.
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25 ESV
This gives us the Old Covenant principle on giving. Tithing was taxation, not giving. Giving was always voluntary—that is, the amount given was voluntary. It is the same in the New Testament. The tithe is never imposed on the New Covenant believer. We don't live in a Theocracy! I encourage you to get a concordance and look up the word "tithe" and its plural in the New Testament. You'll see that it is used only eight times: once in Matthew, twice in Luke (each one is referring to the Old Covenant law), and five times in Hebrews 7 where it refers to a time before the giving of the law when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. Tithing is not mentioned in any of the letters to the Churches.
According to Deuteronomy 12:5, the tithe was to be paid in Jerusalem.
But you shall seek the place that the LORD your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name and make his habitation there. There you shall go, Deuteronomy 12:5 ESV
If you think that you are under obligation to tithe, you're 2,000 years too late and 5,000 miles too far away. This is so clear in the New Testament that the only way we can miss it is to try to avoid it. Yet, so many still impose it upon New Testament believers.
What does the New Testament teach believers about giving? Let me just say that it's not easy to keep a clear perspective on giving because we are constantly being bombarded by appeals for our money. There are the solicitations for money that come in the mail, and religious broadcasts on T.V. and radio spend much of their time asking for money. We're bombarded by techniques, giving gimmicks, church stewardship drives, budget drives, and all kinds of things that attempt to get our money.
You can take courses in certain schools on how to raise your church budget. You can read material on how to develop a tithing church and you can get slick things going like Paycheck Sunday, All-tithe Sunday, or Make-up Sunday. You can learn how to have a pledge system, how to motivate people, and even how to make them feel guilty so that they give more. Then, if you really feel desperate, you can hire out-of-town experts who will come in and raise money for you for a piece of the action.
Mark Twain said that he was so sickened by the long appeals for money that not only did he not give what he planned to give, but he took a bill out of the plate when it was passed in front of him.
In the midst of all the gimmicks, programs, and strong arming that's going on in the Church, we need to know what the Bible says about giving. We need to adopt the mentality of the Bereans.
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11 ESV
What we do with our money is a very important issue. We are all responsible to God for the stewardship of our money.
Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 ESV
Everything that God gives us is a test of our loyalty to Him, especially our money. We are all stewards, and we are all responsible to be involved in giving a portion of our money to the Lord. Look at what Paul told the Corinthians:
Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 ESV
Notice that Paul says, "Let each one of you" —every believer is to be involved in giving. Giving is an important function of the spiritual life. Giving is an aspect of worship.
And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. Philippians 4:15-18 ESV
Paul viewed their gift as an offering to God, a sacrifice that was well pleasing. Notice the words Paul uses here: "fragrant" is from the Greek word euodia, and "offering" is from the word osme, and "sacrifice" is from the Greek word thusia. Now, I'm sure that those words don't mean anything to you, but they might if you understand that all three of them are used in Ephesians 5 of Christ's sacrificial offering of Himself to God on man's behalf.
And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant (euodia) offering (osme) and sacrifice (thusia) to God. Ephesians 5:2 ESV
These words express the language of worship—GIVING IS AN EXPRESSION OF WORSHIP! Worship is "honor paid to a superior being." It means "to give homage, honor, reverence, respect, adoration, praise or glory to a superior being." Worship is a consuming desire to give to God, and it involves the giving of ourselves, our heart attitudes, and our possessions. The worshiping believer is the giving believer.
First and foremost, our giving (when done properly) is an act of worship; it is an expression of love. But, second, giving is necessary to support the leaders in the Church and to support the needy in the church.
The believer has a financial responsibility to provide for those who are ministering the Word to him.
Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? 1 Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV
Whoever goes to war at his own expense? Do the sailors in the Navy have to pay for their cruises? Do they have to support themselves while they're out at sea? No, the Navy gives you a paycheck. Soldiers do not fight during the day and then work a civilian job at night in order to support themselves.
Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? The farmer does not have a side job in order to support himself. He makes his living off the farm.
Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? The shepherd gets the benefit of the flock he shepherds. In any labor, the person who does the work has a right to live off of the work.
Examples from life are instructive, but Paul did not rest his case on self-evident observations. The right of a Bible teacher to be supported by the church is not only taught by custom, but it is an Old Covenant precept. In verses 1 Corinthians 9:8-10, he appeals to the Old Covenant law.
Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 1 Corinthians 9:8-9 ESV
Paul's argument was not merely a human judgment; God's law taught the same thing. In biblical times, an ox was used to help thresh the grain. The Israelite farmer spread his grain on an outdoor threshing floor, which was hard, smooth, and level. A flat board, weighed down with stones or people, was drawn over the grain by a team of oxen or horses that walked in circles around a post. The ox was permitted to eat as much grain as it desired while it was doing the heavy pulling. If a Jew muzzled the ox, he ran the risk of a scourging in the local synagogue.
The quotation about muzzling the ox comes from Deuteronomy 25:4. The context indicates that this text does not refer to animals but to men and their service for God. The theme of Deuteronomy 25 is human compassion, decency, and fairness. It gives laws regarding dignity in punishment (25:1-3), a proverb on wages for work (25:4), procedures for the care of widows (25:5-10); punishment for indecency (25:11-12); accurate and honest weights and measures (25:13-16); and the command to destroy the Amalekites for their unfair war against Israel (25:17-19). Not muzzling an ox, therefore, was probably a proverbial expression concerning just renumeration. Paul quoted this same verse when he wrote to Timothy and encouraged the church to pay their ministers adequately.
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages." 1 Timothy 5:17-18 ESV
It is a church's responsibility to see that its teacher is adequately paid for his work.
Paul continued his appeal to Old Covenant law in 1 Corinthians 9.
Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 1 Corinthians 9:10 ESV
The word "certainly" is the Greek word pantos. It should be translated as "assuredly." He did not mean that the command has exclusive reference to man, but he did say that the command was assuredly given for our sakes. Paul took a figurative expression from the Old Covenant and applied it to the principle of paying a pastor for his work. As the ox works, he is to have the freedom to eat some of the corn that he is treading. In the same way, "the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop." As the worker and the ox work in hope, so should the Christian worker. He should work in the hope that he will be supported in his work. This principle is supported by custom and has the sanction of Scripture.
In verse 11 of 1 Corinthians 9, Paul appealed to basic community justice.
If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 1 Corinthians 9:11 ESV
"If" is a first-class condition in the Greek and could be translated since. "Since I have taught you about the Lord, since I have taught you about spiritual things, and since I have encouraged you in the word of God, shouldn't you provide material things for me?" The Greek philosophers received an honorarium for their instruction. Didn't Paul have the same right when teaching them spiritual things? Those who teach the Word of God have the right to expect support from those they teach. Paul taught this principle to the Galatians.
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Galatians 6:6 ESV
This is a basic principle of the Christian life. If we receive spiritual blessings, we should in turn share material blessings. If you are being taught the Scripture, you have an obligation and a duty to give to those teaching you. If you are not being taught the Scriptures, then you have an obligation to go somewhere where you will be taught.
In Acts 20:28, Paul exhorts the Ephesian elders to feed the church of God. The Pastor's responsibility is to feed and lead. And your responsibility is to be in a church where you are being taught and to support those who are teaching you.
For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. Romans 15:27 ESV
It is basic community justice to share material blessing with spiritual leaders.
Paul established, beyond question, the clear principle that a Christian worker has the right to be supported materially by the church. Are all pastors qualified to be supported by the church? Are there any specific qualifications? Yes, I think they are given in 1 Timothy 5:17-18:
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages." 1 Timothy 5:17-18 ESV
We are to support those elders who rule well. The word "rule" is from the Greek word proistemi which means "to lead, care for, manage, guide, and protect." F.F. Bruce translates it as "elders who direct the affairs of the church well." We are also to support those who labor in the Word and doctrine, that is, those who give themselves to study of the Word of God. Therefore, we are to give to support the teaching pastors of the church.
The Scriptures also teach that we are to give to support the MISSIONARIES.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3-5 ESV
Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Philippians 4:14-16 ESV
In verse 15, the word "partnership" is the Greek word koinaneo, which means "to share with others, communicate, distribute, be a partner." They were partners with Paul in the gospel ministry through their giving. They were helping spread the gospel.
Therefore, we are to give to support the teachers in the church and the missionaries, and we are also to give to support the NEEDY in the church.
For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. Romans 15:26 ESV
begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—2 Corinthians 8:4 ESV
The words "taking part" here is the Greek word koinonia. An analysis of the various ways koinonia is used in the New Testament reveals that its most common usage is to indicate the sharing of possessions with those in need.
Contribute [koinoneo] to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13 ESV
Do not neglect to do good and to share [koinonia] what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 ESV
Our giving is also to go to the meeting of the needs of people in our fellowship.
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed. Proverbs 19:17 ESV
Our giving is an act of worship and it is to be used to support the church leaders, missionaries, and the needy. Giving is the responsibility and duty of every Christian. Giving is not God's way of raising money. Giving is God's way of raising children. Every time we give sacrificially, we give away a little of our selfishness and God is honored.
I think that the Scripture is very clear that we all are to be giving. The question that is so debated is "How much are we to give?" You might be surprised to hear that the Bible teaches that the amount that we give is voluntary—brought about by one's own choice—free, spontaneous, uncompelled. The Bible teaches Grace Giving! And grace giving is voluntary. Second Corinthians 8 and 9 are the normative passages on Christians giving. These two chapters stand out as apostolic teaching on giving.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV
They gave as they purposed in their heart. They gave what they wanted to.
But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Yeshua the Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:7-9 ESV
In verse 7, "grace" is used of "giving." In verse 9, "grace" is used of the atonement of Christ. Paul says here that grace should lead to grace, that is, grace shown to us should lead to grace giving. Our motivation for giving is not legal in nature. We give out of love and gratitude from a worshiping heart.
Let me take this opportunity to say thanks to all of you who support this ministry. I am constantly in awe of you generous giving. And it's because of your generous giving that Berean is able to do what we do. Thank you.