Dear Hope family,
Thought for the Week
Excelling in the Grace of Giving
2 Corinthians 8v7 “See that you excel in this grace of giving”
Grace in the Bible is when something which costs greatly, is given freely to someone who does not deserve it. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor…” (v9)
I wonder why we are sometimes provoked to give and other times not? Paul states that giving is a “test [of] the sincerity of your love”(v8). True “agape” love is going to result in a desire to give to another person rather than spend on myself. Thus, my giving or not giving is an outward sign of the condition of my heart. What are my heart’s desires? Do they lead to a willing, generous giving? Hence Paul says in 9v7 “Each person should give what he has decided in his heart to give”. Giving is more heart than head!
But the head does also come into it as this passage also emphasises proportionality:
- V3 “they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability”
- V12 “if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has”
- V13 “our desire is that … there might be equality”
There is to be some evaluation of the other’s need and our own ability to give.
There are certain points in our lives where we make big decisions and we establish our incomings and outgoings for some time to come. Someone I know moved to lower cost housing so that they could give more. Jesus decided to come to earth to give his life for us. When is the next time we are going to set up a commitment for some time to come? This could be regarding time or wealth. Is that a point to reflect first on how much we want to give, and then let that giving commitment impact our other commitments?
May our hearts be filled with such gratitude to God that it overflows in a grace of giving.
With love and blessing,