What Kind of Giver are You?

Have you ever read scripture or listened to a sermon and thought to yourself “Boy, could so and so use this”? Or “Wow I could totally use this to point out what so and so isn’t doing (or needs to do)!” If we are honest with each other – we would admit to doing it. I have.

And in the spirit of transparency, I did it recently. I started reading 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, and listening to sermons on it to use it against you. Yes – you. Even if we don’t know each other, that was my plan. I was going to use it for anyone I could reach to show you how you are lacking in giving. Nice, huh? But by God’s amazing grace and his loving discipline, he knows better what we need than we do. And this case was no different. So, I am not here to throw scripture at you to show you where you are lacking – because God showed me through his word where I still have a lot of weakness. So instead, I am going to share with you what I have learned about my own heart in this area. My prayer is that you find it edifying, yet convicting if you need it.

In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul begins by looking at the giving of the churches in Macedonia. In verse 1 he makes it clear where the generosity originated: the grace of God. We want you to know brothers, about the grace of God that has been given to the churches in Macedonia, (2 Corinthians 8:1). He then goes on to show that even in severe affliction, their abundance of joy and extreme poverty – they gave and gave “in a wealth of generosity”. How did they do this? Amid affliction and poverty – they gave “according to their means” and “beyond their means”. Why? How?

The grace of God.

They had committed themselves to the Lord first and foremost. Verse 5 tells us this: “and this we had not expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us”. So why is this important? Christ was Lord over them – their entire life was committed to the Lord. Finances – check. Time – check. Everything was committed to God.

When we commit our lives to Christ – we are saying “Everything I have is yours. Everything I give is because of what you have given me.” This surrender to the grace of God allows us to give in response to that grace. The understanding that God is a giving God causes us to feel immense gratitude for what he has done for us – because of his grace and nothing more. He pours an abundance of grace into us – an endless stream of it. This doesn’t mean we miser it and hold on to it – doling it out in small amounts because it might run out. The ETERNAL God of all things has adopted us as his children and pours his glorious and ENDLESS grace into us through the Holy Spirit. It should overflow onto everyone around us. Not just in money – but in time, in love, in grace, in commitment. Everything we have comes from our Father. He doesn’t hold back and neither should we.

And the best part?

When we give abundantly God is glorified. The Macedonians were giving beyond their ability – but not beyond God’s! In their affliction and poverty, they gave abundantly. That doesn’t make sense to the world – but in God’s economy it makes perfect sense because it is by his grace.

So, when we give ourselves fully to the Lord and give in response to the lavish grace he gives us we will be willing to give sacrificially – we will look for ways to give for his glory. We will be the cheerful giver that he loves (2 Corinthians 9:7).

I am not just talking about money. It can relate to how we give of our time, of forgiveness, of love, and of our resources. Everything we have has been given to us by God.

I have had to ask myself through all of this – What kind of giver am I? Do I give grudgingly with the attitude that I must? Do I give out of duty because I need to? Or do I give out of gratitude with the attitude of I WANT TO!? And again in complete transparency I fall into the first two more often than I really want to admit. And if you are honest, maybe you do too. My prayer is that God would work in our hearts to recognize (every day!) the amazing, abundant, overwhelming, undeniable and everlasting grace he has poured into us and that it would overflow in the form of grace, love and giving.