Daily D – 2 Corinthians 8:7
Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 2 CORINTHIANS 8:7 (NLT)
Study after study declares those on the lower end of the economic scales are, on average, more generous than those on the higher end of the scale. This is a general truth. It is not true in all cases.
In the 1980s, Texas endured an oil bust. The price of oil plummeted due to OPEC nations flooding the market with cheap oil. Many in that business suffered serious setbacks. This affected everyone in Texas because of how much our economy in those days depended on those natural resources.
Even then when millionaires settled into more average incomes, one of those men led his family to live on twenty percent of their income and give away eighty percent. He had two sons in college at the time. They lived on twenty percent when times were good, and they lived on twenty percent when times were bad. He was a giant of humility and generosity.
A survey of the wealthiest pastors in America includes Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. His book, The Purpose-Driven Life, is one of the best-selling books of all time. He promptly paid back all the salary he had ever received from his church. He began the practice of a reverse tithe. He kept ten percent of his income and gave away ninety percent.
The point is not to instruct you, “Go thou and do likewise.” My bride and I, and here I take credit for her faithfulness, have sought to live generously across the years. We give more than average. However, we do not come anywhere close to these examples. As soon as I write an international bestseller or two, we will give it a shot.
Paul wrote to the Gifted and Talented Church and asked them to finish what they had started a year before. I know a guy who is really good at starting stuff he never can seem to finish. I visit him every morning when I shave. Finishing things can be hard.
The church in Philippi, which did not have much in their bank accounts, gave to help those who were suffering famine immediately and generously and above their ability (vv. 1-5). The Gifted and Talented Church talked about generosity, started down the path of generosity, but had not yet actually made any generous deposits (vv. 6, 7, 10-14).
Paul told them, “Give whatever you can according to what you have,” (v. 11). Don’t wait for the next Big Deal. Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Don’t wait for that international bestseller. Do what you can with what you have. No one will be looked down on for giving five bucks if that is the best you can do. Live as generously with others as you would want them to be with you if your life situations were exchanged (v. 14).
God’s blessings multiply when they are shared. Live generously.
I will do what I can with what I have.
Our Father, you can do more with five loaves of bread and two fish than I can with a million dollars. You multiply, amplify, and maximize the effectiveness of our generosity. When we live generously, we are simply following your lead. You are the Giver of All Good Things. Everything we call our own came from your gracious hand. As you enrich our lives, empower us to join you in enriching the lives of others. Give us the discipline to give automatically. Give us the heart to give extravagantly. Make us more like you in this gift of giving. Amen.
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1 Chronicles 22:9-13 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”