Thursday, July 03, 2008

Christians live not under compulsion, but from a cheerful heart

"Each man should give what he has decided to give in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7)

I think this applies to more than just our money (which is the context of this verse), but rather our whole Christian life and service. Since God has already taken care of our eternal redemption, doing good isn't a matter of compulsion (do this or else burn!). And that creates the possibility of our freely and cheerfully giving ourselves to God, in whatever aspect of our life.


Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Your interpretation of this verse is "right on the money."

Kenny said...

Thanks, Romanos. Very funny :)

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Uh, you know of course that, aside from the pun, I really think "you hit the nail on the head." I mean, you got it right.

It's just very encouraging when I encounter a young Christian man who actually has a good handle on what straight teaching is. Keep it up, my friend. It's rarer than you think.

Andrew Kenny said...

I've been to been in churches where they taught that a Christian must tithe, and that the tithe should go directly to the church they are attending. This can bring people into a terrible bondage instead of the freedom you speak about.

It is not that I am against Christians deciding out of a joyful heart to give a tenth of their earnings, if that is their choice.THat is great and God honouring if done in a good spirit. However, I believe that tithing for some is too much, and for others it is too little.It is certainly not a New Testament emphasis. My view of the NT teaching is that God is not satisfied with a tenth of our money or a seventh of our time. He wants and commands it all.

Yet even here there is grace and not legalism. Imagine a poor person with a family who finds it hard to make ends meet.He can not afford to tithe ( Some churches teach he can not afford not to tithe- because he needs the return from God on his money: is this not appealing to greed and selfishness, it also manipulative on the part of the church)he can barely afford to feed and clothe his family.

In my understanding of the NT it teaches that his children are also the Lord's and he must feed and clothe them, or he is worse than an unbeliever.

The NT shows us that we must not think 9/10s mine 1/10s God's. That is wrong.It is 10/10s God's.Our children are 10/10 God's. When we buy our child a pair of shoes or some food we do not think that is out of my 9/10s.Both the money and the child are the Lord's.

How do we stop letting this teaching being abused-as all grace teaching can be.Answer: God is not mocked, whatever a man sows that he shall also reap.If we use this as an excuse not to give to God we will not be blessed in the same way we would have been if we had a generous heart.But this will give us the freedom to give out of a cheerful heart which is what Paul teaches.
Grace and peace Zealous convert