2Co 8:12-15 “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.”
There are all kinds of ideas in the world about how much people should give and who should do the giving. Giving is wrongly referred to as charity. Paul stated in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians (v. 3) that he could give all his goods to feed the poor and even be martyred (give his body to be burned) and still not have charity. Charity is not about what or how much we give, but rather about the attitude with which the giving is done.
In order for giving to be godly, there must first be a willing mind. This implies that there is a readiness within us to meet the needs around us with whatever we may have at our disposal. We may sometimes look at what we have to offer and think it is not enough. Certainly, the little boy with the loaves and fishes would never have imagined his lunch could feed all those thousands (John 6:9). Yet, the thousands (including the little lad) were all fed and there were leftovers for the twelve.
There is a very simple principle here: we give according to what we have. We should not hold back from giving because we think it is not enough to make a difference. Giving from what we have is acceptable before the Lord. He does not require of us to give that which we do not have.
Paul also points out reciprocity in our giving. Giving is not about us being in a place of hardship so that someone else can take it easy. We should trust in the Lord in both giving and receiving. If we have an abundance of something to give today (money, food, time, love), then we should give it willingly. By God’s grace, when the time comes that we are in need, those who have been comforted by us in the past will come to our comfort we when have want.
This is not meant as a political commentary. We need to look at what God’s word is teaching and it will stand on its own merit. Giving comes from people willingly taking of their possessions and sharing whatever they have an abundance of. History has proven that men cannot legislate godly giving regardless of how good their original intentions may have been.
From the time that God fed His people with manna in the wilderness, He has taught balance (equality). Those that gathered much had nothing over, and those that gathered little had no lack (Exodus 16:18). God expects us to give cheerfully, according as He has purposed in our hearts (2 Corinthians 9:7). We are to give willingly, not grudgingly or because some man has compelled us.
May God give us a willing mind to give liberally of that which He has prospered us that it might abound to His glory!