“Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.” — 2 Corinthians 8:7
In Corinthians 2:8:1-12, the Apostle Paul points out the positive side of giving, the positive side of generosity. He shared with the church in Corinth that there is joy that comes with giving; that there is joy in generosity.
First a little background. The church in Corinth had made a promise to give an offering to assist some people back in Israel. But the Corinthians hadn’t followed thru on their promise. We don’t know why, but Paul does not beat them up, but rather tried to inspire them by using the church in Macedonia as an example.
Paul pointed out a church in Macedonia that didn’t allow their circumstances to interfere with their giving.”…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.” (2 Corinthians 8:2) Paul added that the church in Macedonia followed thru. Paul encouraged the Corinthian Christians to follow through and turn their desire to contribute into action. Verse 11 says, “Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.”
Sometimes our willingness to give often needs to be encouraged. God desires us to put our good intentions into concrete actions. 2 Corinthians 8:12 encouraged the Corinthians to give according to their desire and means. “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 expect us to give what we do not have. We are expected to give according to their ability. God sees the gift from a heart perspective. When we have given willingly according to what we have, we have practiced faith; we have practiced love.
- What is your biggest motivation for giving?
- Has your view on giving versus receiving changed over the years? Explain.
- Do you feel that giving and being generous to your church and to others directly reflect your faith? Why or why not?