Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 14, 2015
We want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:1-2
Generosity brings joy. It is rare I encounter an unhappy generous person. My wife’s grandmother, who is now in heaven, modeled cheerful giving. She did not allow her fixed monthly income to slow down her aggressive giving to God’s work. Each month she anticipated her opportunity to write checks: $40, $25, $5 all to her church and ministries she was called by the Lord to support. Giving was the highlight of her life. It gave her great joy and satisfaction knowing she helped advance God’s kingdom. Joy generated by generosity is the fruit of our love for Jesus.
The church in Macedonia was poor in material means, but rich in generosity. Paul was illustrating to the more prosperous Corinthian church that generosity was not confined to the wealthy. He attempted to motivate this more resourced group of believers to cheerfully give to Christ’s work by telling them stories of Christians who gave aggressively out of their extreme poverty and severe trial. Joyful generosity means more to those who have less. It means more to the poor because they give sacrificially, not out of abundance. Grace is happy to give more.
“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12).
Are you a cheerful giver to what Christ is doing at home and around the world? Or are you waiting to give something—someday? There are always reasons not to be generous now, because your personal needs seem overwhelming. Normal living expenses, school debt, car debt, a home mortgage, saving for your child’s education and your retirement all seem to beg for more cash than you have. However, joyful generosity learns to trust the Lord with a little, so it is prepared to trust the Lord with a lot. Give God the first fruits of your income and He will take care of you.
Joyful generosity can draw us closer to Jesus. It’s a trust issue. Can God be trusted to provide for us what we provided for others? Money is not always a friend of faith, but it can be. Cash is meant to be an icon of provision that grows our devotion to Jesus, not an idol of dependence that competes with our devotion to God. Humble surrender to Christ and giving of ourselves to others in selfless service is foundational to His will. Joyful generosity grows in a soul submitted to God.
“They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us” (2 Corinthians 8:4-5).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the joy that comes from liberally giving in Jesus’ name.
Post/Tweet this today: Joyful generosity learns to trust the Lord with a little, so it is prepared to trust the Lord with a lot. #joy #wisdomhunters
Additional Resource: 7 minute music video- Elevation Worship: Give Me Faith
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