The greatest barometer of our belief in Christ is our giving. Our theology can be correct, our knowledge of scripture can be plentiful, but our giving habits tell all. As we begin our season of generosity, we step back from our series in Acts to consider our generous God and the generosity we show to others. Let these devos seep into the cracks and crevasses of your soul to widen the spirit of generosity in your life.
2 Corinthians 8:1-7
“. . . their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”
Even when things don't work out, they still work together. Intentionally praising God’s goodness, love and wisdom in the midst of pain and heartache, is a beautiful expression of faith in action – a living expression of trust knowing that “God makes all this work together for the good.” There's nothing more valuable to God than our praise during times of pain. There is a special blessing for those who do not become offended during tough times, but instead respond to adversity with generosity.
In the section of his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul is writing about the Christians of Macedonia. Macedonians lived in northern Greece. These Christians had been going through a great trial of affliction. Under dire circumstances, most people would've saved their money to provide for their future. Not so with these believers. Their joy in God was so deep that when confronted by the needs of others, they reversed the instinct to hoard and heaped supply on others.
These Christians were concerned about their fellow Christians back in Jerusalem who were experiencing famine and poverty. Because Jerusalem was having a hard time, Paul was collecting gifts for the people there while traveling through various churches. But not all Christians were willing to be very generous. So, Paul mentioned the Macedonians as model givers, in order to inspire others to give generously. The Macedonians were generous despite having to deal with severe trials and extreme poverty themselves.
Their generosity didn’t speak about their wealth, it spoke about their inner spirit. As Paul put it, they were richly generous. That means they had a very healthy spirit! Later in this letter Paul tells the Corinthians that each of them must make their own decisions about their generosity, or lack of it. It must be a voluntary decision with each person trusting God as provider, and remembering that “God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Generosity isn’t so much a matter of our prosperity or habits, as it is of our inner life — our heart.
Dear Lord, I simply ask today that You will create within me a heart that is as generous as Yours has been with me. Help me show Your love by giving generously. In Jesus name, Amen.