Give Generously

Today we will be discussing 2 Corinthians 8: 1-15.

The Macedonian church was under severe poverty.  It is probably due to the Romans who had inflicted a severe economic hold on the Macedonians.  This was a church that was suffering.  You wouldn’t see a preacher dressed in fine linens, fancy artwork, and over the top displays of earthly prosperity.  There clearly wasn’t any health and wealth prosperity being taught there.  If there was, there wouldn’t have been anyone left to have a church.  Think about hearing that kind of preaching of overflowing blessings in a church that was suffering financially.  Who would stick around?  They were authentic Christ followers.  They knew their comfort was in what Christ accomplished on that cross.  We can see this because while they had nothing they were begging to give what little they had to anyone in need. There is a famine in Judea take whatever we have!

When was the last time you imitated the Macedonians?  9/11?  Katrina?  How about with the lower income in your community?  Who are you refusing to help?  There really are no excuses.  The Macedonians had no excuses.  Give what you have!  If you have given your money, then give them your time! Why not volunteer and help those in need?  We have opportunities every day!  Standing in line somewhere is a great example.  Maybe you can pay for someone’s gas, or offer to take care of their groceries?  Get involved in your community.  Ever wonder why the Macedonians didn’t have excuses?  They were truly following Christ!

Jesus gave up immeasurable riches when he came down from heaven.  He became the poorest when he submitted himself under the law and its curse and ended it on the cross.  He gave up what he had and gave it to us.  What a beautiful exchange.  He knew we could never pay him back; we couldn’t even pay our own fine.  That is the biggest bailout of all time!  Only we are not expected to pay him back, we can’t.  Jesus’ sacrifice is how we are able to be set free from the curse of the law and the spirit enables us to follow him.  God blesses us to bless others.  Not to hoard it for ourselves.  The Christian life is not about us, it’s about others.

If the sight of a pastor or Christian living well beyond what they truly need while others starve sickens me, I can only image how God feels about it.  Some of these prosperity preachers justify their big houses and fancy clothes and cars by the fact that they donate to charitable foundations.  However if you have enough left to buy all of these things you didn’t donate enough.  And if you didn’t donate enough then someone somewhere is going without food, water, medicine, heat, and shelter.

We must not lose sight of the cross.  What happened there was the largest sacrifice in the world.  Paul concludes in verse 15 with the gathering of manna.  Showing that nothing is our own, it is a gift from God.  Everything you have is a gift from God.  Take a look back at Katrina.  This is a good reminder that what we invest in for ourselves can be here today and gone tomorrow. Share what you have.  Share your possessions, time, money, and love.  If everyone shared everything they had there would no longer be those who are poor, there would be none who are rich.  There would just be people sharing out of Christ’s love.  Give as Christ gives, expect nothing in return, and give freely as it has been given to you.

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