June is Anniversary month at Heralds of Hope. What began as a single radio program on a single station, now reaches a large part of the world in English and 16 other major languages! This has far surpassed the original vision God gave the founders of Heralds of Hope, Dr. J. Otis, and Mrs. Isabelle Yoder. “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
This truly is the Lord’s doing, but God uses people to accomplish His plans and purposes. The faithful prayers and financial support of God’s people, directed by His Holy Spirit, has made the difference. Throughout these 50+ years, our HOPE Family members have understood and applied the graces of giving that are recorded in Second Corinthians 9:6-15. This article is intended as a commendation and an encouragement to all.
The first grace is, give generously. Paul begins with the law of sowing and reaping. The harvest is in direct proportion to the planting. The word, sparingly, carries the meaning of stingy. If you are stingy when you plant, you’ll have a poor harvest. Conversely, if you sow generously, you’ll more likely have a bountiful harvest.
God is our example in giving. He is ABLE to make ALL grace abound toward us. The key word is, able. Whether He does or not depends on us. Too often, we don’t give Him the chance to demonstrate His super-abounding grace! We do not understand His generosity toward us.
There’s no rule to guide generosity. Rules are for those who want to do the minimum. Generosity requires an understanding that God can meet my basic needs if I obey Him. Generosity requires sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. He will guide each Christian to do what He wants.
My level of generosity, your level of generosity, shows where our hearts really are.
The second grace is, give purposefully. “Everyone should give as he purposes in his heart.” Purpose shows intent and motive, it demonstrates discipline.
How do we develop this grace of giving purposefully? Notice verse twelve. Paul says the “administration of this gift” supplies the need of the saints. The word administration is diakonia. We get our English word, deacon, from this.
People like to give to specific needs because the results are tangible. They can see the difference their gifts have made. And it also gives them specific items for which they can praise the Lord! Paul says your purposeful giving motivates many thanksgivings to God!
Another aspect of giving purposefully simply acknowledges we have many choices. We receive many appeals for gifts. How do we decide which organizations to support? What do we want our giving to accomplish? I believe the Bible outlines some specific purposes for giving.
God established the tithe in the Old Testament for three basic purposes. First, the tithe was to support the priests and the Levites. The New Testament clearly teaches that leaders should be supported by the local body to perform the work of the church.
Second, the tithe was gathered to feed the widows and orphans of the Hebrew society. Paul makes it clear in Galatians 6:10 that we are to care for our own people first.
Finally, the tithe was to feed the non-Jewish poor living in the Hebrew community. The first half of Galatians 6:10 says we are to do good to those in the local community, but outside the church.
I believe our first fruits belong to our local church. Giving to other ministries should be offerings above that. So, the second grace is, give purposefully. Be systematic, be disciplined, be careful.
The final grace is, give cheerfully. Paul says in verse seven, each one is to give, not out of distress or sorrowfulness, not by forced to give. Instead he says, give cheerfully. I find it interesting that the Greek word for cheerfully is, hilarous! If you go to your dictionary and look up our English word, hilarious, you’ll discover it comes from this Greek word. So, we are to give hilariously!
The word hilarious may bring images of silliness or foolishness to your mind. But the original word doesn’t convey that. It means to be favorably disposed toward someone or something. It’s exuberant, forceful, and contagious; like laughter. That’s the way our giving should be.
In verses thirteen and fourteen, Paul speaks of the effects of cheerful giving. God is glorified because this kind of giving can only come from a heart that’s been redeemed. Cheerful giving motivates prayer and develops relationship. Paul said, the recipients of your gift pray for you and long after you. Those who receive the gift want you to understand how much they appreciate, not just the gift, but you!
I hope you’ve experienced this joy and relationship of giving. I’ve been so blessed to be a part of Heralds of Hope. Many of you who regularly support the ministry with your finances also pray regularly for me, my family, and the Staff. I’ve experienced firsthand what Paul is talking about. It’s a tremendous blessing to meet our ministry partners, to shake their hand, to thank them personally for their support, and to wish them God’s blessing. We have a relationship through mutual sharing.
The graces of giving will bring unspeakable joy into your life. Let’s ask the Lord to teach us these graces of giving; to give generously, purposefully, and cheerfully. As we obey the Holy Spirit’s direction for our giving, we will be laying up treasure in Heaven.