2 Corinthians 8:1-8
Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia. Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. 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. They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem. Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever directions God might give them.
So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to complete your share in this ministry of giving. Since you excel in so many ways – you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us – now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving. I am not saying you must do it, even though the other churches are eager to do it. This is one way to prove your love is real.
The Christians in Jerusalem were suffering from poverty and famine, and many churches that Paul had planted were coming together and taking up offerings to be given to the Jerusalem church. In this passage of scripture, Paul is encouraging the Corinthian church to join in the effort. This special love offering was above and beyond the normal tithes that were to be given to the Lord.
Giving is a natural response of love. As Christians, we are commanded to love one another and share one another’s burdens. When you love much, you give much. Think about your own family and children. The church is our extended family and when any are in need or experiencing trouble and hardships, our natural expression of love should be giving. The world teaches us to look out for ourselves and hoard up all the possessions and money that we can while we’re on this earth, but Christ teaches the direct opposite. When we give things away and bless others, the craziest thing happens; we are blessed above and beyond what we gave away.
If your child gave away their most prized toy or possession to a less fortunate child, without you encouraging them to do so, what would your reaction be? Wouldn’t your heart just melt at the fact that your child was so compassionate, loving and caring? Wouldn’t you want to bless and reward your child for such behavior? If we as human parents rejoice and reward our children, how much more do you think our heavenly Father rejoices and rewards such behavior? Only if done out of love and compassion though. If we give out of an expectation of receiving, then the deal is null and void. God is looking for a pure heart and pure motives.
Do you have a giving heart or a selfish heart? How do you view others who are hurting or in real need? Do you long to love others more than what you do? Take some time to today and ask the Lord to break your heart for what breaks His. Ask him to give you a deeper love for those around you, even those you view as unlovable. Do one thing today to reach out and bless someone in need, preferably someone you don’t know.
Have a great day!