Throughout the history of the Church, giving has always been in the forefront of spiritual teaching. It is mentioned often both in the Old and New Testaments.
In 2 Corinthians 8:1–15, the apostle Paul talks about the true nature of giving. Because of persecution from both Jews and Gentiles, the members of the Macedonian churches lived in abject poverty. Nevertheless, they pleaded with Paul to let them contribute to a special offering for the saints of Jerusalem. This didn’t happen because of a specific teaching on generosity they had received but because of an inner desire that compelled them to give. In verse 7, Paul lists five characteristics that caused them to want to share their meager resources.
• Faith: they had complete reliance upon Christ for everything in their lives.
• Speech: they lived what they believed.
• Knowledge: they knew the teachings of God and were willing to obey them.
• Earnestness: they were eager to grow in Christ in every area of their lives.
• Love: they would not stand by while people needed the necessities of life. They had the same love the Lord shows to us.
Paul says change the heart and people will begin to give without even being asked. When the heart is not right with God, all the teaching in the world will not change a person’s attitude; only God can do that. Maybe Paul is telling us that if we spend more time making disciples, then our churches will respond the same way the Macedonians did to the needs of the other saints.