Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A Beautiful Example of Sacrificial Giving by Van Houser

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.  2 Corinthians 8:1-5

A Beautiful Example of Sacrificial Giving by Van Houser

As you are probably aware, the church began in Jerusalem where there was on outpouring of the Holy Spirit and thousands were saved.  They immediately began to see the needs of some of the members and took extraordinary means to share with all so that no one was without the necessities of life.  Such an act came from the Spirit of Jesus within them.

The church later sent missionaries such as Paul and Barnabas to deliver the gospel to others and new churches were established as Jesus had commanded in Judea, Samaria and outward.  The Jerusalem church supported these fledgling congregations and the missionaries who served them until they were able to care for themselves.

However, the Jerusalem church fell into difficult times and many in the church were hungry and without means of support.  A plea was sent out to all of the churches to please send support to the church at Jerusalem but the church that surprised them with their gifts was the Macedonians.  This church had suffered greatly with persecution and poor economic situations. 

The Macedonians outdid themselves in giving because God had blessed them. They gave beyond their means. They dug deeply into their pockets and begged for the privilege of being involved in what God was doing. They came to Paul saying, "Don't leave us out."

Evidence that a heart has been touched by the grace of God is that it counts giving a great privilege.  When we first give ourselves to the Lord, we have the right priorities.  That is where it always has to begin. That is the key to a giving heart.  They realized that everything they had belonged to God. He owns it all. The right priority is always "they first gave of themselves to the Lord."

The Macedonians had the attitude of, "Lord it all belongs to You. It is not mine. I am just your trustee. I must distribute it for your sake in your name."  That will change your whole attitude toward possessions.  Grace givers are moved by the grace of God to give as He has provided.  When our love is genuine, we will give from the heart.  When the heart is right, we give right.

Don't be overwhelmed with guilt if it is not as much as you would like to give, or as much as you said you would give.  The important thing is to give according to your ability to give as God has blessed. How has God given to you?  The Macedonians were poor, yet they gave like they were rich.  And we can do the same.

Scripture to Claim:

One gives freely yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.  Proverbs 11:24-25

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