Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
2 Corinthians 9:13
Christian generosity has at its heart a perspective on earthly things that can only come from heaven. That we are generous in giving to the cause of Christ and sharing His love with a world that does not know Him or care about Him, reveals the great work God has done in our hearts. We believers see things that others do not see, and have a different perspective on what we all see. We see the love of God in Christ, the needs of the world to know Him and to worship Him. We see the end times, the judgment, the beauty of heaven, the eternal life with Christ, and have glimpses of the very mind of God. The world cannot know these things.
And because we see these things we look at this material world differently. It is all passing away, the unseen is eternal and the seen world is temporary (2 Cor. 4:18). Everything we touch, everyone we know in a mere earthly manner, everything we own – all of these are passing away and of themselves they are earthly, temporary, and perishing.
But we can use our material goods for eternal good, by giving to the Lord’s work, by our wise generosity in the things of God. For example, when we send missionaries out to preach, they need financial support and by giving to their support they are able to take that which is merely financial and worldly and use it for something that is eternal and spiritual – the saving of souls. When we give to the local church, they are able to take that financial gift and transform it into spiritual ministry, teaching the truth of God to children and young people, for example, and preaching the truth and providing spiritual care for human lives.
One of the problems in prosperity teaching is that they abuse this concept and make gaining financial wealth the goal of Christian faith – they make the seen seem more important than the unseen – a plain contradiction of 1 Corinthians 4:18. God warns us form His word of people “who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Tim. 6:5). Godliness in itself is the true treasure of the Lord, and not financial gain. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion,” not so that we can just boast about our wealth and give way to pride and lust.
A believer is to have a different goal for his life from the world – his life and everything in his life is to count for Christ. He may work hard and have great success, but he will recognize the Lordship of Christ over all areas of his life and what he has gained by his hard work will be sanctioned for Christ. And I believe hard working people have better insight into the causes they will give to, or will not give to. Hard working people are typically wise in giving, not foolishly throwing money away but using their resources wisely for Christ.
When Christ saved you He saved all of you for all eternity. He did not save part of you only for a few years of your life or for just a few centuries in heaven. He did not give just some of His life for you and offer to forgive some of your sins. He gave His entire life for you that all of your sins may be forgiven for all eternity. Now the one to whom all authority in heaven and on earth is given has saved you and called you to come and to enjoy His eternal home. How can we respond with anything other than complete obedience and surrender? We can trust Him in all things, even in the way He calls us to live and calls us to give.