The next few days, we are going to talk about giving. As there are a variety of spiritual gifts, the gift of giving is one that is very difficult to discuss. I have struggled mightily throughout my life with the challenge of how and how much to give. I have many friends that it is a no brainer. They give out of their wealth and their poverty with equal ease and joy.
As Paul begins to address the Corinthians about giving, it is clear he does so with a humble heart. God has been very clear that giving is a matter of trust, more than a matter of finance. As Paul discussed the Macedonian church, he is clear to say that they gave more than they could dare afford in their extreme and dire circumstance. Still, Paul was not concerned with the number they gave; he was celebrating the level of trust in God’s provision to actually give out of their distressed means.
In the gospels, Jesus points out a widow that throws her last two mites in the offering. To the Father, she gave a fortune. Meanwhile, people were throwing a lot greater sums in, but those sums were tokens of their wealth and not even an afterthought to the giver.
From Abraham forward, God has illustrated time and time again that what we can trust God to take and use, speaks all about our faith and not our wealth. If we can grasp that giving is a faith thing and not a financial thing, then we can start loosening our grip on our stuff, and we can strengthen our focus on the Father.
Please know that I am not speaking out of my mastery of giving. I truly appreciate God’s grace and kindness in teaching me this discipline. Still, at days end, like any Father, God only wants us to be free to live in peace. Giving is a discipline that truly frees us from our dependence on ourselves and our wealth. We can instead sit back and watch God do amazing things with what we share and bless us with event after event that we can only attribute to His grace and power.
God Bless You
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. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love, we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”[b