From: Gordon Curry
Let’s talk about giving. Giving is an act of worship to God. What this means is that through giving, whether it be giving our money, time, abilities, or other resources, we love and honor God. I think we can agree on that. Like any act of worship, the act alone is not what pleases God. What pleases God is a combination of our heart’s condition, along with the act being done out of loving obedience, which ultimately makes what we do acceptable to Him. Are you still following me?
The apostle Paul speaks about how the church in Macedonia gave. I’ll need some help from all the bible scholars out there to tell me exactly what they gave to, but I know it was for a Kingdom purpose. What strikes me is that they gave even though they were poor and were experiencing trials. In spite of challenges, they gave beyond what they were able to. Remember when I mentioned the heart behind the act? The way they gave was remarkable. “Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (2 Cor 8:3b) My attention is drawn to the fact that this took place because of “the grace that God had given the Macedonian church” (2 Cor 8:1), which highlights their dependence on God to be willing to sacrifice in this way.
It’s convicting and incredible that the Macedonian churches thought this much of God that they were willing to be generous while experiencing their own struggles and lack. We see what the Macedonian churches did, but what about what they didn’t do? They didn’t use their current circumstance of poverty as a reason not to try. This may be a stretch, but they didn’t pass this request off on to others. We are told that “they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping God’s will” (2 Cor 8:5). First relying on God, they were willing to help and their willingness was the very heart behind this particular act of worship.
What would happen in our hearts and community, if there was a willingness to give in this type of way? Not out of our abundance because we have it, but a willingness to give sacrificially of our time, our unique abilities, our privilege, and share resources even outside of what makes us comfortable as evidence that we truly believe in God’s vision for a reconciled Kingdom. This is something to consider.
I am a four-year resident of Boston, who loves to talk life, arts, and share a good laugh. Dry humor welcome.