Today I see the direct message of money and giving in Paul’s message. I’ve maintained that while the last chapter and a half is usually explained as being about giving money and goods, we must remain focused on the spiritual side of things and today’s passage (the summation of this section) is no different.
13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, 14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
If the message about goers and senders wasn’t enough, this should put the cherry on top. When we give money towards something in order to honor God, we ring in melody with God’s will. It glorifies Him when we do it out of obedience. It is an act that confesses our faith to God on behalf of the Gospel of Christ. In turn, you get to either initiate or maintain a relationship with whom you are donating to. Even if it is an organization, there exists a relationship. I want to hone in on verse 15 and then we will look at the rest.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! What gift is Paul talking about? Is he talking about whatever donation they received or something more spiritual than that? Paul’s concern is never about God providing. He mentions over and over how he need not worry for God to provide what is necessary when it is necessary. Look deeper. Paul is talking about the indescribable gift of folks who are excited about his ministry and want to be a part of it! He is talking about the wonderful gift of the people he is discipling seeking out God’s will for their lives and being obedient. In this case, it relates to supporting and furthering Paul’s ministry, but the ongoing theme has been obedience to God, regardless of what it looks like.
How is giving to others a confession of faith in Christ’s Good News? Is it common for people in the world to give out of faith for what others are doing? Sure it is. But in this case, what are they contributing to? They are sending support through finance and prayer to a group of guys traveling the world and planting churches. This says something about the giver. This is part of spreading the Gospel, of answering the Great Commission. They are an integral part of making it happen just like the linemen on a football team are an integral part of making the game winning pass happen.
The relationship I mentioned earlier is evident in that those receiving the gifts are continuously praying for those who are giving. A Godly relationship is more than what the world sees. It is an intimate connection that exists because we share the same spirit. In the Marines we called it Esprit de Corps, the spirit of belonging to the same body of people. We are the body of Christ, joined together by the Holy Spirit as a result of what God did to rescue us from the slavery and isolation of sin. We not only belong to a body of people, but we are accountable to and responsible for one another.
I’m going to repeat myself from earlier posts: it’s not about the money! Once we can get that out of our heads and stop thinking like the world says we should we will see that it is all about the relationships. It’s about our relationship with God. It’s about our relationships with each other. It’s about our relationship with the rest of the world. God restored our relationship with Himself so we could have better relationships with each other, the way He designed us to.
Don’t you want to realize the true purpose of your being?