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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Eighty-Seventh (Giving)

I hope you are doing well. Remember to pray for...well, everything! You might be surprised at the result! This week we're sort of revisiting a topic we looked at previously, but this time we're going to come at it from a different angle. Interestingly, it was a little over a year ago when we looked at it the first time.

This time around, let's start with a verse that may or may not be familiar to you. Paul, when writing to the church in Corinth, told them to give according to their heart (2 Corinthians 9:7). He even goes on to say they should do it not grudgingly or even out of necessity. Those last two things point back to what we talked about last time we covered this topic. Namely, don't give because you're told to, because you feel like you have to, or because someone is trying to guilt you.

As always, let's look at this in context. This exhortation comes after Paul talks about how awesome the Macedonians were at giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). Then, he goes on about how giving Titus was to those at Corinth! (2 Corinthians 8:6, 16). Interesting, right? It's almost as if he's trying to guilt the church at Corinth into giving!

However, you find that Paul's trying to bring them back to how they were previously. He knew the Corinthians were previously eager to help others in any way they could. He was even boasting about it to the Macedonians! (2 Corinthians 9:1-2). He wants to remind the Corinthians of who they were in order to help them realize they had gone astray.

Paul is also trying to get the Corinthians to understand it's about helping those in need when you can and they can help you when they're able (2 Corinthians 8:12-15). It's not so much a "give so you can get," mentality, but to give based on the Holy Spirit's movement since He knows what the body of Christ needs. Paul points this out by stating that God was the one that put Titus' desire to help into his heart (2 Corinthians 8:16).

There's something else Paul reminds the Corinthians of. He also mentioned the part of the giving process that the giver doesn't necessarily see. You see, when you give according to the Holy Spirit's influence the giving occurs to where it is needed, not to where it is wanted, and as a result those that receive give thanksgiving to Yehovah (2 Corinthians 9:11-15).

Have you ever given to someone who wanted? What may be more likely is you've met someone that feels entitled. For those that want, and those that are entitled, nothing is ever enough and so there is no thanksgiving. Just more asking.

Those thanksgivings are the treasures Jesus talks about storing in heaven (Matthew 19:21). He was talking to a rich man in that moment, but His message was to all and it was two-fold. First, He wanted to point out that we should not hold dear the wealth of the world. No matter how much we have, we should not be storing it up when others are lacking.

Second, He wanted to give a lesson about priorities. For the rich man, it was clear his priority was the wealth he had accumulated rather than the eternal life He claimed to be searching for. Likely, this man struggled with what he could see versus what he couldn't. And if you're starting to connect the dots, you see that it comes down to trust in the promises from God.

That brings us to a very interesting event from the Old Testament. We've talked about the manna from heaven before, but didn't focus on the gathering of said manna. Yehovah's commandment was to gather only what was needed by each person according to the number in their tent (Exodus 16:16). What happened when the Israelites gathered the manna, though?

Some Israelites gathered more, and some less, but as they counted according to God's commandment the manna was spread out across everyone such that each had an equal amount (Exodus 16:17-18). So really, the more able individuals gathered and gave to those that needed, just like what Paul was trying to get the Corinthians to do.

In fact, if you read on, you see that there was even a consequence to those in the wilderness that attempted to keep some manna overnight (unless it was the day before Shabbat). The manna left over rotted and was infested with maggots by the morning (Exodus 16:20). Again, this goes back to trust in Yehovah. The Israelites were being given a lesson on listening and believing in God's promises, in this case the promise that God would take care of them in the desert.

So make sure you're not only trusting in Him, but also listening when the Holy Spirit moves you to give. The other aspect of giving as your moved is your attitude is cheerful! Not angry or sour because you were forced to. And God loves a cheerful giver! (2 Corinthians 9:7)

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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