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ASTOR. LENOY TILDEN FO'DAN R

1919

Vol. 49 KANSAS CITY, MO., JULY, 1918

_THE YEW Yu.X

NO. T.

| PUBLIC LIBRA THE GRACE OF GIVING 860245

EDNA L. CARTER As ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.—II Cor. 8:7.

MAUL, in his second letter to the Cor

inthians, makes a stirring appeal to them
for a generous gift to their poorer breth-
ren in Jerusalem. In this message he
suggests some principles of giving that
are always applicable, for giving is a

grace which has much to do with spiritual growth in all men at all times. Without this grace, the soul shrivels; but where giving is practiced as a vital part of Christian living, the soul expands and becomes God-like in liberality and generosity. Restoration to the likeness of God cannot be complete unless mind and heart and soul are daily opening out into that large, free, bestowing spirit which characterizes our God and Father. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that our text classes the grace of giving with faith and knowledge and love.

In his first epistle to the Corinthian church, Paul had suggested a very simple, practical plan for the exercise of the spiritual grace of giving. It was this: “Upon the first day of the week, let everyone of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him.” That is, each member was asked to establish a treasury. It was to be the Lord's storehouse and they were to put their offerings into it regularly and proportionately. In adopting this plan, the offerer became a steward of

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the Lord's goods and entered upon the discipline and training necessary to make a good steward, for it takes wisdom to know how to dispense the bounty of God.

Probably no simpler way to begin one's growth in the grace of giving can be suggested for our own day. Those who have followed this course have usually had more to give than they had thought possible.

That the plan may be entirely successful, several things must be observed. First, there must be a willing mind. "If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not.” “God loveth a cheerful giver."

Second, giving must be done in faith, and there must be no withholding because the offerings seem small. Instances of giving in the Bible record, counted worthy of special mention, commendation and blessing, are those in which the gift was small. The widow who fed Elijah in time of famine when she had only a little meal and a little oil in a cruse, gave him a cake made of her last handful of meal, and for her faith and her free generous spirit she was rewarded with a plentiful daily supply of food for herself and her son as well as for Elijah. “And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail” (I Kings 17:16).

The New Testament furnishes an incident which sets forth this same truth, that it is not the amount of the offering but the spirit in which it is given that determines its value and power. “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:41-44).

ages.

These widows, in their giving, exemplify what it is to give in faith. The results of faith are just as sure in this age and in all ages.

A third requisite in the keeping of the Lord's treasury is that the offerings shall be a just and fair proportion of all that one receives. The amount was settled by Paul and at the same time it is left to the free will of the giver. This statement may sound contradictory, but it will not if it is considered in connection with the measure Paul gave which is “as God hath prospered him." There is a certain definiteness about this and yet it admits of freedom to exercise individual faith, judgment and will.

Under the Mosaic law a tithe or tenth was required as the Lord's portion. Throughout the Old Testament the tithe is mentioned as a reasonable and just return to the Lord in acknowledgment of him as the Source of bounty. After Jacob's vision of the ladder with angels ascending and descending upon it, he set up a pillar and made a vow unto the Lord saying, “Of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee"

(Gen. 28-32 me I will surely on saying, “Of all

The Spirit said, by the prophet Malachi: "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 3:8-11).

Here blessing is directly connected with faithfulness to the Lord's treasury: but gifts should be made

made a (Prov. Wissed; for he swhich soweth

because it is right and because one loves to give, not for the sake of reward.

Jesus gave the same promise of reward and increase for giving. Luke records it thus: “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).

Promises and assurances of spiritual benefit and increase of God's bounty through the keeping of this divine law of giving and receiving, abound in all the Scriptures. “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). “He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor" (Prov. 22:9). "He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully” (II Cor. 9:6). “Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters" (Isaiah 32:20).

Concerning the giving of tithes, it is worth while to remember that we are living now under the larger, fuller blessings of the gospel, and that it is therefore meet to give accordingly. If, under the law, a tenth was required, certainly no less is fitting now. One of the best incentives to generous giving is a keen appreciation of the favors secured to us by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also, freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Freely ye have received, freely give." True giving is the love and generosity of the Spirit-quickened heart responding to the love and generosity of the Father's heart.

Along with matters relating to the filling of God's treasury, there come questions about wise distribution. To whom shall we give and how much and when ? There are general truths that aid in settling these ques

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