Are you & I generous? Do we go the extra mile for others?? Do we give to the Lord??? Good questions huh?! Certainly God is generous. He gave us Jesus. He offers us heaven. He gives us His absolute best! These are great reminders in a culture that is constantly trying to get us to focus on ourselves.
Here’s the skinny from this chapter on being generous. First of all, generosity has little to do with how much you have. “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” Secondly, we are to give ourselves first, then our resources: “they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.” Thirdly, we are to give more & more so that we “excel in this grace of giving.” And if these three don’t move us to be generous, how about the example of Christ!? - “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Next, generosity should be done willingly to meet the needs of others: “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable” and “your plenty will supply what they need.” Finally, when people give, we are to handle their gifts with integrity. Paul made special efforts to be transparent with finances! And we should too.
*How is your giving? Do you regularly give to the LORD? Do you see the Sunday offering as a burden or a privilege? As a cost or an investment? Our heart attitude will determine the extent to which we give and are generous.
*Maybe you feel like you don’t have much to be generous with. I often feel that way and so did the Macedonian churches and so did the widow in Mark 12! But they gave anyway!
*Gifts given represent hours worked, dollars earned and are to be treated as so. Many a church and a minister have fallen due to misuse of these gifts. I have nothing to do with collecting the offering nor will I. Scares me honestly, and I want help students Know Jesus and Make Him Known for a long time! You keep praying I stay away from the finances!
*Finally, what are you & I sacrificing so we can give to the Lord? Eating out? The latest gadget? Entertainment? Here’s a sneak peek at a verse out of our next chapter - “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”