September 19, 2015
READ: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
You have seen everything the LORD your God has done for you (Joshua 23:3).
In November 2014 a couple asked a waiter named Carlos for a dish that wasn’t on the menu. Having worked in restaurants themselves, they were impressed by him and how he fulfilled their request. The man asked Carlos what he would do if he had money and time. “I work two jobs. I don’t really have time,” he replied. He did, however, let on that his car needed a £1,000 (€1,370) repair job. Later, Carlos found a £1,000 tip on the table. He said to the generous couple, “Thank God for you and for what you’ve done. . . . It couldn’t have come at a much better time, so I’m eternally grateful.”
Paul called the Corinthians to the “gracious act of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:7). The poverty-stricken church in Jerusalem needed funds (8:4; Acts 11:27-30). So the apostle appealed to the affluent Gentile church in Corinth to generously support their needy Jewish brothers and sisters in the Holy City. As an example, he lifted up the churches in Macedonia who had given out of their own poverty—amid persecution and other struggles. By selflessly giving what they had, they reflected the gracious, generous ways of Jesus, who “became poor, so that by his poverty he could make [us] rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
The Corinthian believers were known for their gifts, the spiritual kind. Paul was now calling them to imitate Christ and pour out the financial gifts he had first requested in his previous letter (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Their lavish giving would show their true love for God and others.
You might not be able to leave a generous tip today. But may you give generously as you acknowledge what it truly means to be “eternally grateful” for what Jesus has done for you.
365-day-plan: John 17:1-26
Read Philippians 4:15-20 and see how one of the churches in Macedonia—the church at Philippi—blessed Paul with its generosity.
How is generosity a sign of spiritual maturity? How has Jesus inspired you to live a more generous life?