I recently visited with a retreat coordinator who reminded me of a verse in 2 Corinthians 8, that got me thinking.
But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge,
in complete earnestness and in your love for us — see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you,
but I want to test the sincerity of your love
by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
The season of getting is upon us, but I love this reminder about the grace of giving. Certainly the economy will have an effect on our material giving this year, but that’s not what the grace of giving is about, is it? The grace of giving is a reflection of our heart. It’s laying aside self-centeredness and putting others first. It’s keeping our mouth closed when we have a litany of things to say … that would only stir up trouble. The grace of giving is self-sacrificing. It might look like giving up a felt need, a position of comfort, a last bite of _________, a “want” … in order to bless someone else. The grace of giving isn’t something we do just for those we love, it’s for those Christ loves … that kinda stretches our borders, doesn’t it? That might look like blessing the Wal-Mart greeter by calling him by name, smiling at the scary looking man in the customer service line in front of you (or letting the one behind you take your place).
In today’s economy, I can’t help but notice that peoples’ tendency is to be more selfish … look out for number one. But in God’s economy, the more you give, the more you get in return. (Now you know, I’m not talking about material things, right? I am not preaching a prosperity gospel here!) Listen to vs. 9 of 2nd Corinthians, For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Friends, no matter what the cost, the grace of giving on our part is more than matched by the self-giving “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 9).
Happy Belated Thanksgiving! With Holy Enthusiasm, Vicki