Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lenten Reflection #22:Generosity

"1 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 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 8:1-5

Something must have gotten into the Macedonian Christians.  Paul tells us that they were in the midst of "very severe trials" and that they were extremely poor.  However, that did not stop them from given generously all that they could give even beyond their own ability.

They were not having a pity party for themselves because they were going through trials.  They did not focus on what they did not have.  They focused on God.  All they wanted to do was join God in what God was doing.

He also tells us that they did not give out of guilt or coercion or even because they "ought to."  Entirely on their own they gave all they had to give.  They saw giving to the cause of Christ as a privilege.

Then Paul tells us the secret to generosity as he tells us about these "strange" Macedonian Christians.  They gave themselves first to God.

Generosity flows from a relationship with Christ.  Giving is what God does.  "God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son." (John 3:16)  Jesus loves so much that he gave His life on a cross for us.  Love is generous.  Love gives.

We have a tendency to focus on our trials and our poverty and when we do that, I belief, it robs us of our generosity.  It keeps us from recognizing and seeing that God is with us in the midst of our circumstances and is able to do exceedingly more than we could even ask or imagine.   He did it with the Macedonians and he will do it for us.  God wants to create in us a heart of generosity just like his.  When we first give our self to the Lord we become gracious generous givers.

Tonight I thank God that I got to spend the evening with some folks that are generous like the Macedonian churches.  We were at an event that raised funds for people in need in our community.  I got to see this extravagant generosity and it got me thinking about how it is the natural outcome of living in relationship with Christ.  As we reflect upon our relationship with Jesus and seek to grow deeper in relationship with Him our generosity should be growing as well.

In Christ's love and mine,

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