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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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.