Giving From God’s Heart
“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia” (2 Corinthians 8:1). That’s where Paul, the Apostle’s, account of the generous sharing of the Macedonian Christians starts—with the grace of God. Because these folks shared from the abundance of God’s love, they joyfully shared in an amazing way. What is often expected is that folks will share from the generosity of their hearts. When folks share from the generosity of God’s heart, it is a whole different matter. As Paul said, they “gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will.” They knew God’s gifts of grace are for sharing, not grasping. They trusted God would supply them anew.
Your sharing as a congregation of God’s people has always been amazing to me. It would be tempting to hold back or refrain from sharing through the up and down economic times in fear that there won’t be enough. That’s not been the case at all. Your sharing has remained steady and faithful. I praise God for that. It is a great sign of trust in God’s grace.
The beautiful thing about the Macedonian Christians’ amazing sharing was that they “gave themselves first to the Lord.” They were intent on living under the grace and lordship of God. They realized that everything belonged under the lordship of Jesus Christ. He was the Lord of their lives. He was the Lord of everything they had. They wanted nothing more than the Lord to use them to His glory. That attitude allowed for generous and gracious sharing in so many ways.
I have been blessed to see that kind of generous and gracious sharing among you again and again. Not only are you steady and faithful in financial sharing, but you look for ways to use the time and talents with which God has blessed you to further His work of love in the world. It is obvious you want to live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life.
Paul indicates that after giving themselves to the Lord, the Macedonian Christians gave themselves “by the will of God to us.” They realized that it is God’s will that we share of ourselves for the good of others. It is the way we can show our love of God. God doesn’t need anything from us. It is all His anyway. But others sure do need our loving sharing. The Macedonian Christians realized this and “begged Paul earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.”
When someone is hurting, I don’t hear from you, “O that’s too bad.” Rather you want to know how you can share. You want to know what you can do. You know in your heart that it is God’s will for us to share in loving community in this world. Opportunities for sharing are opportunities to show our love of God. I praise God for your blessed desire for loving service.
It is truly a privilege to serve as your pastor. I know our future is very bright in the Lord as He continues to pour treasures of His grace upon us for sharing.
Spreading, Serving and Sharing with You,