7But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7
In Romans chapter 12, “giving” is indicated as a gift from God, a spiritual gift. In our verse for today, Paul calls it a “grace”. You give because you are led by the Holy Spirit to give.
Scripture teaches that even though giving is a “grace,” we are still called to put that gift into practice. Paul is even willing to compare the generosity of one group to another in order to encourage more generosity (See 2 Co. 8:8)
Is Paul being a little hard on the church at Corinth here? After all, he says they excel in their faith, speech, knowledge, earnestness and love. Shouldn’t that be enough? Apparently not. Remember, Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).
Maybe it’s not even always money. Think of the man who planted a vegetable garden just so he could give most of it away. Another man gave generously of his time, transferring a neighbor into and out of her wheelchair twice every day so she could go out to lunch with her friend. Then there is the man who walked a neighbor’s little girl to school because the mother couldn’t leave the baby alone. None of these people thought about earning points with God. They only acted generously because God gave them generous hearts.
We don’t give just because it is commanded or expected. Generosity flows from a heart that has been forgiven and delights in expressing thanks and gratitude in that way. In the process, the Lord adds the benefit of the great feeling of happiness that accompanies our giving.
Prayer: Dear Lord, the Giver of physical and eternal life, we can never out give You, for You gave your own Son to win eternal life for us. We praise and thank you for that great gift. Amen.
Contributed by Karen Seutter