Scripture Reading: “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (2 Corinthians 8:3-5)
HOW MUCH TO GIVE?
Don’t we often ask: “How much should I give?” Unfortunately, from our selfish perspective, we may really be asking: “How little can I give and still call it a gift?” Giving is not something that comes naturally to most of us. By nature, we are selfish people who are only interested in our best interests, which is the accumulation of more and more comfortable and enjoyable things. Without a relationship with Jesus, we are compelled to give generously to our churches and to those in need. As Christians, we see our time, talents, and treasurers as tools that can be used to extend God’s kingdom. When we faithfully use our lives and blessings in His service, He is honored and worshipped.
In our Scripture reading, Paul used the giving of the Macedonians as a model for the people in Corinth to see as Corinthians considered their gifts to the distressed Christians in Jerusalem personally, but they wanted to help fellow believers. The Macedonians gave beyond their ability which is giving sacrificially. They didn’t give their leftovers or what they could afford. They gave to the extent that it impacted their lifestyle.
The Macedonians gave because they were new creations in Christ. Paul wrote, “They have themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (verse 5). Giving came naturally after God had control of their hearts. As we spend time in God’s Word and participate regularly in the Sacraments, God will grant us hearts that will plead for the opportunity to give.
Dear Heavenly Father, You are the owner and giver of all things. Help us to acknowledge You as the source of everything. Grant us, Lord, the same grace and faith that allowed the Macedonians to give so willingly and generously. In Your name we pray. Amen.