The Importance of Vision

September 16, 2021Inline Text Rod Irvine
441797199.0.mThe Grace of Giving If you were asked who were the top three Christian leaders of the 20th century, who would you say? Of course the list is subjective and influenced by personal appeal and one’s own theological tradition. When I ponder that question the following names jump out to me.

First, Billy Graham the evangelist, who must surely go down as one of the giants of the faith in any age. Second, Martyn Lloyd Jones, the peerless preacher and the man who reintroduced the puritans to the evangelical world. Third there is John Stott, for the immense clarity of his biblical exposition and writing that made complex issues transparent. Jim Packer, for his profound scholarly insights, comes in a very close fourth for me.

When I was researching my book Giving Generously, I came across a small booklet called The Grace of Giving by John Stott. Even though it is a very slim volume, originally given as an exposition of 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 in San Diego in 1998, I have found that anything that Stott has written on almost any subject is stimulating and informative. Thus I sat up and took notice. Stott enunciated ten principles of Christian giving. Here they are, all from 2 Corinthians.

1. Christian giving is an expression of the grace of God. (2 Corinthians 8:1-6)
2. Christian giving can be a charisma, that is a gift of the spirit. (8:7)
3. Christian giving is inspired by the cross of Christ (8:8&9)
4. Christian giving is proportionate giving. (8:10-12)
5. Christian giving contributes to equality. (8:13-15)
6. Christian giving must be carefully supervised. (8:16-24)
7. Christian giving can be stimulated by a little friendly competition. (9:1-5)
8. Christian giving resembles a harvest. (9:6-11a)
9. Christian giving has theological significance. (9:13)
10. Christian giving promotes thanksgiving to God. (9:11b-15)

I commend this booklet to you. It is easily available online. One point I might add that is not evident from this summary. It would be incredibly valuable to prepare a bible study for home groups based on this material. This will be very helpful but if you are a pastor looking to raise resources to fund gospel ministry, there is one more step to do. In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 Paul does not shrink from actually asking people to contribute. This study would give people the knowledge and foundations of Christian giving. However Paul still actively asked for support and I suggest you must too. For more on how to ask, see Giving Generously.