Thursday, June 28, 2012

The upside-down grace of giving

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "...they gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God." 2  Corinthians 8:5

Giving could be considered one of those upside-down realities of the Kingdom of Heaven. Though it seems contradictory to think our enjoyment of life will increase when we give away the things that we own (supposedly meant to enhance our enjoyment in life), that's what Paul seems to be implying here.

I see six aspects of giving in our reading today:

1. Giving can be a powerful movement.
The Macedonian Christians, though persecuted and poor, gave willingly and beyond their means to be a part of the churches' generosity to the Jerusalem churches (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).

2. Carefree giving is rooted in belonging to God (2 Corinthians 8:5).

3. Giving is a "grace" that proves mere words of loyalty and love (2 Corinthians 8:6,7).

4. Jesus was our shining example of giving when He left behind the riches of heaven to give us the most valuable thing He had—His life—so we could be rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

5. Good intentions and yesterday's promises are not enough. We need to finish the giving we've begun (2 Corinthians 8:10-11).

6. Giving should be realistic (2 Corinthians 8:12-14).

I can relate to several of these.
  • I know how good it feels to be part of a 'giving' event. There is something uplifting, energizing and unifying in participating with others to support a noble cause.
  • It's no surprise that giving is called a grace. Don't we call generous people 'gracious'?
  • I easily fall into the category of giver with mere good intentions, or the one who doesn't give because my small gift doesn't seem important.
  • But Paul's point about the Macedonians being able to give so generously because they gave themselves to God first resonates with me the most. The thought of me being God's dependent takes away the anxiety of fending for myself. It changes my outlook so that I can go from being a collector of things to a distributor of them—from a dam to a channel if you will. I need more of this attitude in my life. What about you?  

PRAYER:
Dear God, help me to see that as Your dependent, you will take care of my needs. Help me to be open-handed with not only my money and possessions, but also with my time, energy and love. Amen.  

MORE: Hoarders

The opposite of givers are hoarders. If you've ever watched the depressing reality show called Hoarders: Buried Alive, you will have seen the pathological end of someone who can't bear to get rid of stuff or give anything away. It proves the deceitfulness of the lie we so often live by—that life consists in the abundance of things we have.


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2 comments:

  1. "The thought of me being God's dependent takes away the anxiety of fending for myself. It changes my outlook so that I can go from being a collector of things to a distributor of them—from a dam to a channel"

    Wise words, Violet! We need this perspective. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Janet. Now to put those words into practice today!

    ReplyDelete

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