The Joy of Giving

MEMORY SELECTION: “Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” —II Corinthians 9:11

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: II Corinthians 9:6-15

HOSPITALITY and generosity toward the brethren are evidences of the operation of the Holy Spirit in the mind of the Christian. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 12:6-21, enumerates a long list of characteristics that we are to associate with the renewing of our minds referred to in verse 2. In verse 13 he includes “distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Just as witnessing and service are outward expressions of love for the Heavenly Father and for his beneficent purposes toward all peoples—principles revealed in the divine plan of the ages—so generosity and hospitality are evidences of love for the brethren. And more than this, they evidence a knowledge of who our brethren are and why they are brethren. Our Lord, speaking of those who would be in harmony with him and God’s laws in the kingdom, said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40) And in Proverbs 19:17 we read, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again.”

It is well to note, in Romans 12:13, to whom the hospitality and generosity are directed: “Distributing to the necessity of saints.” In this particular instance it was the brethren in Jerusalem who were in need. A severe famine had prevailed in the vicinity of Jerusalem. This was not a commercial area and therefore was almost solely dependent upon agriculture for funds to purchase food that was imported. Also, and probably as important as the other factors, the brethren at Jerusalem were poorer as a class. They were looked down upon by the more prosperous in the society of that city because of their poverty, and of course the brethren were the target of considerable persecution during this time. All these factors taken together made the matter of assistance a serious matter to the Apostle Paul, who was entrusted with the care of all the churches.

The church at Corinth, in the view of the Apostle Paul, was at this point well enough established in the truth to have a real heartfelt appreciation for their relationship to the Heavenly Father and, by this, to realize that their brethren in Jerusalem had the same hopes, ambitions, desires, and, of course, the same relationship with the Heavenly Father as they had.

Because of these things, the apostle felt free to press them for the gift. To emphasize his attitude he gave them a parable, saying, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly: and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” There is another proverb that is also to the point: “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” (Prov. 11:24,25) The evident lesson is that the Lord is pleased to see his people—the footstep followers of Jesus during the Gospel Age—cultivate largeness of heart and mind, and exercise generosity in proportion to their knowledge of him and the almost unfathomable generosity that he has directed toward us.

Our Lord has shown us how he measures our gifts. He esteems them, not according to the amount given, but according to the spirit which prompts the gift. When our Lord drew attention to the poor widow who cast two mites into the offering box, he declared that from his evaluation the poor widow had cast in a larger sum than any of the wealthy who had given merely out of their abundance. Their gift was really no sacrifice at all.

Our memory text turns our minds toward God’s generosity toward us and reminds us of the greatest example on record of self-denial in the interest of others, that is, the gift of the Lord Jesus himself for the world. He was rich in possession of glory and honor, and yet for our sakes he became poor. He became a man, born of a woman, that he might redeem us; in order to do this he willingly suffered death on Calvary’s cross, and because of his sacrifice we have become rich. Thanks be unto God for the unspeakable gift of his only begotten Son.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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