“We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us… But 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…
“This benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-5,7,10-12
God does not need us to do what He does. He who owns the cattle on a thousand hills can send daily manna to the hungry. But by His design and for our good, He includes us in His provision for His people. His teaching us both the give and take of supply enfolds us in a divine union with the church and a wide chorus of praise. It massages our hearts to health, exercises faith muscles to strength, and stretches our compassion to broader influence. (Exodus 16:4; Psalm 50:10; 68:10)
It is God who inspires with holy passion, and He who receives the glory when we deliberately act on that passion. He stokes and tweaks our desire, takes what we offer, and multiplies it to meet needs and garner thanksgiving and praise. (John 6:5-11; 2 Corinthians 9:6-13a)
When we see all that abounds from the yielded heart, why would we not beg for the favor of participating in the Almighty’s work? What should keep us from looking for every opportunity to be a part of His supernatural activity, to contribute effectively, to participate in prayer and share our bounty of resources and time?
Much bounty flows from shared generosity, showering on everyone involved- giver, receiver, observer, and Owner of it all- heightened joy and awe of God.
For what will we beg God the favor of doing or giving today? How might He fill my open, empty hands with goods, or my mouth with blessing, for others? Would I take time in prayer to ask Him to sharpen my sensitivities to better stewardship? What busy and clutter can I clear away from before my eyes so I can clearly see needs around me? Would I prepare myself to respond when prompted to His appropriate action?
And when He gives the privilege of serving Him, will I gladly turn His favor to praise?
Good Father, hone my readiness and zeal into prompt, generous action on behalf of Your church and kingdom purposes. (2 Corinthians 9:2-3)