On Giving Generously

May 23, 2024 | Gratitude

The Collection for the Lord’s People
8 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.
2 Corinthians 8:1-4 NIV

Each morning “He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.”

That is straight out of Isaiah 50:4 b. It’s what I do in the morning. Listen to God’s voice to instruct me on what to write for the daily blog.

I was reading 2 Corinthians chapter 8 this morning when I received a text message from someone in my church asking for a donation for a good cause. No coincidence.

Are you someone who is a giver by nature? I admit it is a joy for me to give. I love spoiling (but within boundaries) those I love. How about you? Maybe it’s with food preparation, birthday gifts, or just giving in a sacrificial way by offering grace in those situations that warrant that.

Perhaps people would be much happier in life too if they learned to do what Scripture advises us to give generously. I know we are all basically selfish by nature. Yet, as we obey God in life, things go better. We enjoy life more. We reap what we sow.

Sometimes we get in the mode of taking only. We hoard things, or we buy things we don’t really need. Or we lay up treasures on earth. We all do this. As Christians, we need to be brought right back to Scripture to be reminded to be givers not takers. I can speak for myself as needing the reminders at least.

There are many hurting people in life. Sometimes we think we can conquer all the ills of life by being a giver. But Jesus said, “You will always have the poor among you…” (Matthew 26:1la). This does not give us permission not to give. It is just the truth. No matter how much we try solving the world’s poverty, we will only be able to put a drop in the bucket. But that one gift will make a difference somewhere.

Our commission in Scripture is not to fix all the ills of society, not to help third world countries become affluent nations. Our directive is to “give to the poor.” Naturally, our North American culture wants to assist people in becoming self sufficient. Regardless, we are to give, both in Word and in our deeds.

I appreciate how The Message translates this giving, though I advise as always to use a literal translation first, which is like the New King James Version, New International Version, or English Standard Version of the Bible. Yet the paraphrase translation is helpful in understanding even more what the text is teaching as long as the true meaning doesn’t get lost.

“Now friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colours: they were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could — far more than they could afford! — pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-4 The Message.

When you think of it, most of us in Canada and USA give out of our riches. These people gave out of their poverty, much like the widow who gave her last penny. That surely is a test of true colours.

On that note… let us give generously to those around us today. Our closet neighbours meaning our own families first, and especially also to the household of faith.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers.”

Galations 6:10 NIV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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