WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – The richness of your life is not based on how much you get but on how much you give. A life focused on what you need and how you can get it is a life of inward poverty, regardless of the balance in your bank account.
The Christian life is a life of giving – and not just of money but of all God’s gifts. He blesses us that we may bless others in His name: “As good servant managers of God’s grace in its various forms, serve one another with the gift each of you has received” (1 Pet. 4:10 ISB). In today’s chapter, Paul applies this to the collection for the famine-stricken saints in Jerusalem, but keep in mind as we read this that it applies to every area of Christian life.
“The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously …God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work …Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God…” (2 Cor. 9:6-11)
Jesus taught that it is possible to be “rich toward God” (Lu. 12:21), and that’s what Paul wanted for the Corinthians and for us who read this letter. Learning to give money is lesson one in learning to give life – and to do it cheerfully.
WONDERFUL THING IN MY LIFE – There is nothing more Christlike than a life of giving: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
Since this verse isn’t talking about Jesus giving us money, what is it talking about? He gave up the glories of heaven for a few years that we might enjoy them for eternity. Then, He gave up being comfortable in this world that we might be comfortable in the next. Finally, He gave up doing what was best for Him in the garden to do what was best for us on the cross. And He calls His followers to live with that same heart.
Some of you do this so well. Thank you. Please be aware that God has noticed. He’s noticed every incident in which you’ve given up your own preferences and comforts and time and self-interest – and your finances – for what was best for others, especially your fellow believers. “For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints – and by continuing to serve them” (Heb. 6:10).
Keep reminding us, Lord, that it is not the receiving of Your blessings that produces the greatest joy but the dispensing of them.