Excel in the Grace of Giving
It is Pledge Sunday for us today and Pastor Chris spoke about giving from 2 Cor 8:7, an echo of what we were discussing two Fridays ago - more than an echo really. Pastor completed the lesson.
2 Cor 8:7
But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
We can only give if we have first received and the fact is, we have. God has given us the ultimate - His son. It is only when we know what it is to receive, do we know how to give. The Macedonian church in this context of the passage, did not consist of rich people. On the contrary. They were in severe trial and were in extreme poverty (v.2) and yet they gave beyond their ability.
We give because of the grace of God. It is because of His amazing grace that we give and because we give, more grace will be added, and because of more grace, the more we will give. The cycle continues.
And it is the giving of our all. Some Christians may psycho-analyse themselves out of giving. They justify themselves by convincing themselves that they are after all giving their time and efforts to the Lord in service - "it is not that I am not doing anything. I am! The time, the energy: that counts too." However, until and unless we can part with the most difficult to part, are we really independent of the things of the world and do we abide with God.
While in prayer, I continually meditated on the truth and an object came to mind. I find that we are like hoses - garden hoses, for that matter. The larger the radius of the hose, the more water can flow through. The smaller it is, less will flow through - well, common sense. In the same way, the larger the opening of our hoses, the more God will provide to flow through into His kingdom, so that His work will be done. But if the end of our hoses are so capillarically small (while the receiving end can be as huge as it can be to catch all the wealth that can be caught) and since only very little can flow out into His kingdom, He does not have to reserve much for this hose.
We can also use the analogy of a father and a son. If the son tells his father that he desires to be a doctor when he grows up, the father will have to supply enough for it to become a reality. In the same way, if the church desires to be alive in ministering to the unreached, in social services to the needy, in teaching and discipling, the Lord will have to provide because there is so much work to be done. Jehovah jireh, He will provide.
And if we do not open up our hoses, we will lose out in the participation of the work of the Kingdom. Yes, our needs will be provided, He is the provider after all, but that will be all, since He cannot use us as a channel for the work of His kingdom. He will look for those who are huge hoses so that He can put through more, whether by huge salary raises, bonuses, commissions, new business opportunities, rising stock prices or real estate, so that more can be channeled into His kingdom. That is after all where our treasures should be kept, not in the banks.
The Old Testament was about the law, the 10% and more. The New Testament is about the grace, by which we give and be added upon so that even more can be given.
Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
Photo © 2007 John Marcotte