I want to speak to the approach of the New Testament church had concerning Finances and giving. The giving was not done by obligation much like what we do today with tithing but came from a much deeper understanding. The primary place giving was done was towards leaders for one purpose to advance the kingdom and the money was used according to the current vision being acted on.
Paul received support through 2 different avenues. The first was spiritual sons and daughters he was in relationship with supporting him. Most of this was used for his personal wellbeing. Contrary to living a life as a tent maker you see that was a short lived time while support was being built for him. The second avenue of support was through the mission upon his life and kingdom mandates he implemented. This was more through larger gatherings of people and the general church at large over regions and territories. Both of these 2 avenues established kingdom culture around support and giving.
In that day the support was consistent for those who did give, it was sacrificial for the kingdom cause most of the time required it, and it was expected that kingdom work and workers would be supported. They knew they would spend it properly so this is why they laid it at “The apostles feet”
Acts 4:34–5:2 (KJV 1900) — 34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Kingdom establishment of ministry deems what is necessary to accomplish the current assignments. The stewardships is not based on this is what I desire but what the Lord has ordered. We are not giving to a church, but actually giving to clearly defined kingdom vision with certain tools and initiatives needing funded. Jesus funded ministry from his supporters of ministry.
Luke 8:2–3 (KJV 1900) — 2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
And Paul put a demand that funding would come to Phebe.
Romans 16:1–2 (KJV 1900) — 1 I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
Leaders sent by God into regions should be supported by that region. This unlocks kingdom blessings, and all of heaven. The kingdom will advance at a fast pace. But to not support those sent by God is to not honor them and not honor God and can close up a region. The Philippian church saw that others were not taking care of Paul, mainly the Corinthians and Thessalians, and they looked for opportunity to give to Paul!
Philippians 4:10 (KJV 1900) — 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
Philippians 4:15–17 (KJV 1900) — 15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
Paul goes on to tells them the offering was sweet smelling, acceptable and pleasing. When you look at these words you find they have a strong meaning. The definitions refer to the same type of sacrifice of Christ at the Cross carrying the same type of impact! In other words when the offering is done right God views it liken unto his son being an offering that is agreeable and far reaching to all.
2 Corinthians 9:7 (KJV 1900) —7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
We are to give as we have determined, The Holy Spirit may lead us in giving but for the most of the time it our decision where and how much. The Holy Spirit will not compel you to give. So now to the heart of what I want to bring out. What forms a right perspective in our giving?
Turing to 2 Corinthians 9 the most famous passage used for giving, I’ll bring out some key thoughts in each verse. Please read this chapter.
V. 5 Bounty
V. 6 Sowing
V. 10 Multiple the seed sown
V. 11 bountifulness
The Lord showed me in this chapter a hidden meaning in the middle of giving as we know it. V. 9 “His righteousness remaineth forever”. We focus on giving and God is focused on righteousness. Righteousness is directly related to giving. We are not sowing and reaping because of what we give but because of who we are, righteous. We are giving from our position and what we are giving is not money but ourselves. The reason people don’t give is they disconnect from righteousness. Now we all know righteousness is being in right standing with God, a right alignment. Offering your righteousness like Christ did at the cross is what God is desiring not our money.
But then V. 10 talks of “fruits of righteousness”. The fruit of righteousness is sanctification, which springs from justification, and manifests itself in holy living. Which is through Jesus Christ. The righteousness of God’s saints is not by the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ. Your right understanding of giving will release grace into situations. V.8 “That grace would abound”.
Now looking at the section. We don’t have righteousness because of giving. Nor do we increase the fruits of righteousness because of giving. But we give from a righteous place – meaning it is a spiritual action of not what we believe but who we are….. our giving reflects righteousness. The giving parallels the degree of righteousness that has been formed and our awareness of it. It is a by product that is then acceptable to God because we are acceptable. The early church giving from this point of righteousness was giving from a zeal and passion of appreciation of the relationship they had with Christ. It was easy for them to sacrificially give to kingdom assignments. Now going lets go back and look at the verses spiritually and look at sowing not money, but righteousness.
V. 5 Bounty – the over abundance of sanctification and righteousness, holy living
V. 6 Sowing – will be sown not sparingly
V.7 cheerfully – from a heart of full gratitude and rejoicing because of righteousness
V.8 Sufficient –it makes the grace to abound – it’s a catalyst for grace to be in action
V. 10 Multiple the seed sown – there will be the fruits of righteousness
V. 11 bountifulness – causes thanksgiving – the additional giving of ourselves
V.12 it is the service coming forth from righteousness not obligation
V. 13 Others will glory over your life (not your offering)
V. 14 that others would desire not the blessing they see but the grace you have activated by righteousness and would pray and seek God for it.
V15 The gift of righteousness (not your offering) has no descriptive word of its value
Your giving is not because you have to but because you get to. Your giving is for people to come into Kingdom fullness and to come into righteousness When your righteousness is in place your giving is not by obligation but alignment to assignments and kingdom vision. Your righteousness empowers your offering to release grace and cause an effect for Kingdom advancement!