And guess what, so am I.
But the more we understand the grace we’ve received, the better we are able to exercise the grace to give. Saving grace overflows into giving grace. Freely we give because freely we have received.
Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to “excel in the grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8:7)
Now, the first thing that comes to mind when the topic of generosity is mentioned is money. But it’s not just about the money…money…money…
We all know that generosity involves many different facets – TIME, TALENT and TREASURES.
It is actually possible to give without being generous or at least in the spirit and attitude Paul referred it to.
We can give out of convenience – to stop a beggar from bugging us.
We can give out of guilt- because we feel bad about another’s plight.
We can give for self-benefit – to help because there’s a foreseeable return.
We can give for self-promotion – to help us stroke our already bloated ego.
What does it look like to excel in the grace of giving?
In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (2 Corinthians 8:2)
Check out this equation:
SEVERE TRIAL + EXTREME POVERTY = ?
The normal answer would be anxiety … depression… anger… irritation or even grumbling.
However, the church in Macedonia responded in overflowing joy. Now… that’s grace of God in action!
For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. (2 Corinthians 8:3a)
We’ve somehow lost the meaning of this word (sacrifice).
We’ve become such a consumer society that what makes us happy has become top priority.
If I get what I want, then I’m happy. But if my expectation does not match my experience, then I’m unhappy.
The church in Macedonia gave sacrificially. Top of mind wasn’t what they would receive but what they are able to give.
“Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.” (2 Corinthians 8:3b-4)
Giving when it’s compulsory is not a joy. However, when it is done from a cheerful and willing heart, then it doesn’t only feel fulfilling but honors God ultimately.
I love what Sir Winston Churchill said…
“We make a living by what we get;
we make a life by what we give.”