June 24

2 Corinthians 8:7-11

“Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.” vs. 7

There had been a massive famine in the area of Jerusalem and the Jewish Christians there were struggling mightily. When Paul heard he launched a massive disaster response effort in the congregations he had started. Instructions were sent  out to gather a collection that could be brought to those brothers and sisters who were on the edge of starvation. Initially the response was positive in Corinth, but then enthusiasm ebbed. Paul knows he can’t command the Corinthians to give, but he does encourage them, first by telling them of the extreme generosity of the Macedonian congregations, and then, by challenging them to do better! Paul understood competitiveness, and decided to use it to increase the offering for the saints. It wasn’t just that he wanted them to give more–he only wanted them to excel in their sharing, to give in proportion to their blessings. That has continued to be the model for followers of Jesus. We not only open our hearts to the Christ, we open our checking accounts as well. Sometimes that’s a shock to new believers–but when they discover the real joy that comes from generous giving, they continue that pattern for the rest of their lives. And it really isn’t a competition, it’s a habit of the heart, and one of the gifts of the Spirit!

Thought for the Day: When did I become a generous giver?

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