Thoughts for Today:As believers, most of us have experienced times in our lives when we have been motivated to give. Perhaps we've had extra money and thought to give some way. Other times we could have heard an emotional appeal and been touched so deeply that it motivated us to give. I'm sure some of us have even been made to feel so guilty that we gave: "You're really a horrible person if you don't give to this cause." And for others, giving is a responsibility. It's a part of following the rules of being a good Christian.
However, Paul tells us that giving is not to be based in excess, prompted by an emotional appeal or guilt trip, and it is not solely a responsibility. He said in verse one of Chapter Eight: "And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches." Let me re-emphasize this point: Giving is a grace of God. True Christian giving begins with God working in His people, conforming them to His image -- and when we become like Christ, we then freely give of ourselves -- just like He did.
In Chapter Eight, Paul introduced to us this "grace" of giving. Now in Chapter Nine, he provides greater detail regarding the nature and act of true Christian giving.
Questions to Ponder:Many Christians ask questions about giving. For example, how much, how often, and what should be the source of our motivation? There is a lot of confusing and also contradictory teaching on the subject of giving. Paul will clear up the vast majority of our concerns in Chapter Nine. Do you have questions about giving? Do you think you have the right answers? Read on and we'll take an in-depth look at Paul's teaching on this important topic.