So, this is where you find that common adage: 'God loves a cheerful giver!' and the whole of this passage is very modern in its approach to giving. The Jews gave because, firstly they had to- a tithe of all they had, coins, sheep, wheat, herbs and so on- and secondly, to gain favour with God. Remember the widow's tithe? Jesus commended the widow who gave all she had, but He didn't condemn those who were giving from their wealth. It was considered within Jewish society a good thing to give and there was a kind of 'prosperity doctrine' stance to it: just as with Job in the opening chapter of the eponymous book, verses 1-5, righteous, godly living meant God's rich bounty pouring out on you in financial, materially prosperous, ways and in good health and fertility. That is why Job's friends, bless them, were so confused over Job's illnesses and disasters. So, this passage is modern in its outlook as Paul writes about God blessing the cheerful giver in spiritual ways and, almost, that there could be some kind of calculated giving, as the more one gave, the more one would receive back. I see this in today's world mainly in churches in the UK and the USA giving to churches in poor areas of the world- some areas of Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Financial giving flows out from wealthy churches to fellowships 'on the ground', doing the work. I saw this clearly in Kolkata: Christian charities supported financially from the USA and South Korea doing amazing work with street children and their parents. One of the questions for me having spent 5 trips with a charity called Good News Children's Education Mission, led by a Bengali man, Subir and his South Korean wife, Eu-nok, was how dependent was the church attendance for children on whether they were accept for a free education? I did ask Subir that, but the question was deflected adroitly. You could see however that what encouraged Americans and Koreans to give so generously were street children getting an education potentially up to college level and souls were being saved! The church services we attended were lively, charismatic and full to the brim! As we give then, so do we receive: the more freely and cheerfully we give, the more we receive!
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