Theme of the Week: The Goodness of Generosity
Bible Verse: “They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.” 2 Corinthians 8:4
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9
It’s a tale as old as time: husband and wife begin a house search with a limited budget. After searching their ‘firm’ price range, they’re disappointed with what they’ve seen. Their Realtor then suggests a budget increase to enable them to get all they ‘need.’ The couple finds the money and justifies it without much strain.
When rainy days or opportunities are too good to refuse, we often “find the money.” Even when we haven’t planned for it, we fix broken washing machines and splurge for that impulse buy at Costco.
In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul talks about a collection he’s making for the poor in Jerusalem. Circumstances there were dire; help was needed yesterday. The Macedonian Christians gave “as much as they could, and even beyond their ability.” Notice that the Macedonian Christians weren’t giving extra out of their trust fund but from their “extreme poverty.” They likely skipped meals to free up funds for the Jerusalem offering. They found the money.
Do you ever ‘find the money’ to give? Do you ever give more than you planned?
My wife and I have a generosity plan. It’s a good beginning (see yesterday). The Macedonian Christians taught us about the next steps of surrender and responsiveness to God’s Spirit. A few years ago, we started learning to find an extra $50 here or $200 there for a ‘free will offering’ beyond what we had planned to give.
Last year a couple in our church had their truck stolen and trashed. This truck has been generously lent to everyone and their neighbor for years. A friend suggested that those who’d benefitted over the years might help. Several emails later, several people ‘found the money’ to help replace the stolen truck.
Martin Luther once wrote that Christians must go through three conversions – of the mind, the heart, and the ‘purse.’ All three converge in our topic today. If planning generosity is step one, ‘finding the money’ to give more is step two; it’s proof that mind, heart, and wallet have grasped the enormity of God’s love and the calling to love others. May our minds, hearts, and purses be His.
Prayer: Lord, open my eyes today to unexpected chances to live generously this week. I choose now to obey; help me do so! Amen.
Reflection: Here’s a simple exercise to help you give feet to this idea. Put a bill somewhere strange in your wallet (like a credit card spot). Then ask God to show you where He wants you to give it and pay attention to what happens. The strange spot will keep this in front of your mind.
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