by James A. Fowler
The purpose of Christian giving is the same as the purpose of Christian living. We were "created for the glory of God" (Isaiah 43:7). We are to "do all for the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).
As Paul writes to the Corinthians he indicates that they are involved in this gracious work of giving, "which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself..." (II Corinthians 8:19). He then explains that the recipients "will glorify God for your obedience" (II Corinthians 9:13).
God is glorified only when His all-glorious character is expressed within His creation. God is both the subject and the object of His glory! Man fulfills the purpose of his being when he allows God to be the subject and the object of His glory in the man, deriving all from God unto the glory of God.
The purpose of Christian giving is not the glory of man. Many religious contributions are given, so that it will be properly inscribed on a bronze plaque: "Given by......., In Memory of........." Much of the hardware within the church houses across our nation are thus inscribed as contributions unto the glory of man! Across the door of such edifices might be written, "ICHABOD" -- the glory of the Lord has departed (I Samuel 4:21).
Neither should we allow Christian giving to be attributed to the glory of a Christian congregation. We cannot say, "This church is successful because it has met its budget." "This church is to be praised because they have given so much to missions." Yet the predominance of our denominational statistic keeping tends to do just this. The glory is to be God's alone! If it is Christian giving, then it is what God has done as the expression of His character of givingness unto His glory.
©1999 by James A. Fowler
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