The word for this week is “Giving“.
The thought for this week is: We cannot out give God.
Giving is an outgrowth of our faith. It is one of those subjects that is hard to talk about, particularly when it comes to sermons on tithing and generosity as it is often deemed to be too personal to discuss. Why is it we eagerly receive God’s blessings but hesitate when it comes to giving back from those gifts he has given us. This may be due in part to our lack of faith and our refusal to recognize the source of those gifts and to whom they belong. The reality is we are never able to out give God as he has poured out his love and grace that we might have life in abundance.
Read II Corinthians 8:1-7. What example did the Macedonian churches set for the Corinthians? (v. 1-4) We learn that God sent Paul to the Macedonians during his second missionary journey and this letter to the Corinthians was written a few years later during his third missionary journey. Paul could not have known what a blessing the Macedonians would be to him and the church in Jerusalem; but God did. Note in verse 7 how Paul begins his plea to the Corinthians with a positive example of the Macedonians. Now read chapter 8:8-15. Why is it easier to show love and support to others in ways that are non-financial? Ask yourself how did Jesus become poor for our sake? (v. 9) Finally, in reading verses 10-12, what happens when a pledge to donate resources is made but is failed to be delivered upon?
Along with the famine, there were other factors affecting the poor in Jerusalem. Many were disowned by their families and their community for their belief, losing their ability to support themselves. There were also widows in need and missionaries were being sent out. All of this at a time of high taxation by both the Jewish and the Roman authorities. Through all of these financial difficulties, God was teaching the Gentile believers to show God’s love to others and he was showing the Jewish brothers that they could trust the Gentile Christians. The end result was a united church that was divided by culture, geography and financial ability.
Do you tithe? Do you give generously, blessing those in need? We learn from the early church that the gifts of God are meant to be shared. And, it is by God’s grace that we are able to find joy through the expression of loving kindness and gifts to others out of our abundance. Pray through the following Scripture and strive to memorize Mal. 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, help us to trust in you that we might give out of the abundant blessings you have poured out on us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By Rory Barneche