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Thoughts on Giving

By Paul Kooistra, Aug 25, 2022

When thinking about giving, we must remember it is both an important spiritual grace and spiritual discipline. The desire and ability to use the resources entrusted to us for the advancement of His kingdom is a gift from God. In ways beyond all human understanding, God takes our gifts, multiplies them, uses them, and repays the giver with blessing. We are made to live as ambassadors in this world living in a way that reflects our citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.

Stewardship is not only a grace, but also a spiritual discipline. Just like praying, studying Scripture, and going to church, our giving impacts our relationship with Jesus. God uses our giving to stretch our faith. When we consider God alone is our provider who has given the inde­scribable gift of His Son, we are encour­aged to trust Him with everything we have. Stewarding our income, bank account, investments, time, and talents is an act of worship. 

This is Paul’s whole point in 2 Corin­thians 8 and 9. After encouraging the church to give generously in the face of trial and poverty in chapter 8, Paul explains the purpose and benefits of a cheerful giver.

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be gener­ous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only sup­plying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God” (2 Corinthians 9:10-12). 

God’s resources are never limited. He gives us all we need and all He wants us to have, but we must give it away in or­der to gain it. As we become involved in God’s global outreach, our own worlds expand, and we are enriched. 

As Americans living in one of the rich­est countries in the world, we battle a materialistic mindset. During uncertain financial times, we are tempted to fear­fully hoard our wealth. Yet an obsession with material riches leads to poverty in the experience of God. 

Giving is an important part of living a holy and happy life. Scripture teaches these two things always go together. It is not surprising countless studies show that people who are benevolent are happier than people who are not. The “harvest of righteousness” that comes from undergirding God’s servants far exceeds the cost. Nothing compares to the joy of giving to the One who gave us everything. 

Paul Kooistra is a former coordinator of MTW and author of several devotionals.

Paul Kooistra
Dr. Paul D. Kooistra holds the B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota, the M. Div. from Colombia Theological Seminary, and the Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Alabama. He served as Assistant Pastor of Pinelands Presbyterian in Miami, Florida (1967-1969), and as Associate Pastor of Seminole Presbyterian Church in Tampa, Florida (1969-1973) where he was also Principal of Seminole Presbyterian Day School during the 1972-73 academic year.

In 1973, Dr. Kooistra assumed the position of Assistant Professor of Christian Education at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi; he subsequently became Associate Professor of Christian Education and Homiletics at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) in Clinton, Mississippi (1975). In 1985 he accepted the presidency of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where he also taught Practical Theology. He served the seminary until 1994, when he was named Coordinator of Mission to the World for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), where he served until 2014. Dr. Kooistra was elected Moderator of the PCA’s 36th General Assembly in 2008. Upon his retirement from MTW in 2014, he became President of Erskine College and Seminary, and retired from there in 2016.

Dr. Kooistra has published five devotional books: 31 Days of Grace; Following God: His Will for Your Life; Supper’s Ready; Pursuit of Joy; and Faith Promise.

After losing his first wife, Jan, to cancer in 2008, the Lord brought Sandi into Dr. Kooistra’s life. They were married on August 29, 2009, and reside in Suwanee, Georgia. They have five adult children and seven grandchildren.
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Pray for our single missionaries serving internationally in the midst of their unique struggles. 

Pray for missionaries to remain faithful in the mundane and not get caught up in striving to perform for the praise of others. 

Pray for missionaries who are doing valuable work yet have trouble raising support because their work or field is deemed less exciting or less important than other mission work by some in the church. 

Pray for missionaries raising support and for potential donors to grasp the eternal importance of supporting missions.

Pray for missionaries who are experiencing homesickness on the field.

Please pray for God’s protection over new missionaries and our MTW family as we engage in God’s kingdom work.

Pray for current missionaries, future missionaries, sending churches, and donors to be willing to ask the question, "How could God use me?"

Pray for missionaries on the field who struggle with loneliness.

Pray that pastors and missions leaders would come on vision trips to get a firsthand perspective on what God is doing, and that God would call many to serve as a result.

Pray for MTW interns preparing to go to the field this summer, and for God to prepare the hearts of people who will be impacted by their service.

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