A Call to Generous Giving (2 Cor 8:1-5 NLT)
8 Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.
3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
March 12, 2020. The day the world stock market passed the $11.5 trillion mark. $11.5 trillion lost, which is the same amount that had been gained since the 2016 American election. What took over 3 years to build – left in the window of February 19th to March 12th, less than 30 days. You may not care much for the stock market. But chances are you’ve experienced the effects of the worldwide pandemic. Whether it’s quarantine, losing work, missing out on your Spring Break travel plans, having to take care of your kids while school is postponed. We’ve all been affected. And in more ways than one, we’re all hurting from this.
Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, details a group of believers who were being tested by many troubles, specifically that they were very poor. But, he shares, despite their physical poverty they were joyful and generous. Not only were they generous, they begged Paul for the privilege of being able to be generous. When I read this, I wondered to myself, “why did they want to give away more, when they were already so poor? Why did they do that?”
In a time when everyone is captured by fear and insecurity, we have a chance to look radically different. We have an opportunity before us to capture others’ curiosity, to make them wonder “why did they do that?”
Here are some things to keep in mind
Keep the main thing the main thing
We are generous because Jesus was generous, and we live in the wake of what He has done for us. We’re not called to be generous because we “ought” to. There’s no pressure to give because it’s “in the Bible.” There’s a call to be eagerly generous because it’s an opportunity. For you, and for others, to experience God’s goodness in your lives. Paul shows us this when he writes:
9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
Quality over Quantity
We are not pressured to be big givers, we’re called to be stewards of what we have. Paul goes on to say:
…Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.
God doesn’t need our stewardship to make things happen. He wants us to be generous so we can experience being a part of what He’s doing. He’s in control of everything. Generosity is more about what’s happening inside of our hearts than it is about what’s happening in our hands.
As you go about your socially-distanced lives, ask yourself, “what opportunities has God put in my path to be a part of what He is doing?” “How can I be generous with the people in my sphere of influence?” During this time, people need each other more than ever.
This might be your opportunity to change a life.
This might be your opportunity to be a part of what God is doing.
Posted by Craig Murphy ~ SouthRidge Discipleship Coordinator and Immerse Student