Yesterday we read about a low-income church in 2 Corinthians 8. But notice that not only did they give richly, but they insisted their gifts be received. ‘For I bear witness that according to their ability…and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift.’ Why would people who received government, state, and county aid, implore Paul to take what little money they had? I can only speak for myself, but I believe it’s because when you’re living like that, you have a tendency to not want others to experience what you’re currently going through. I remember being a newbie at the shelter and overhearing women muster up enough money for one of the lady’s to come in. Though shelters are free, after a certain period, there is a fee. This woman, whom I’d never met, needed $7. When they were unable to collect the whole amount, I immediately gave the difference. With her mat in tow, after she got situated, I handed her another $1 for the next night. She took the dollar, looking almost stunned at how someone she’d never met would want to ensure she had a place to rest the next day. Thinking nothing about it, I pulled the sheet over my head, thanked God that I was able and went to sleep. Not realizing I had just walked out 2 Corinthians 8:2 – 4.
It’s Not How Much You Give, But Why You Give
Even though it would seem as if we all had nothing to give, some of us gave beyond our ability. During this holiday season, I implore you to give to those less fortunate. But give with an expectation that they should give from what they've been given. Ask them to give a portion, no matter how small it may seem, to someone else. Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because, as we learned in our last issue, this is how they are going to get out of their situation. I know this to be true because several years ago, I was living in a rat-infested duplex, next to a trap where we had no gas which meant we had no hot water to shower and neither could we use the stove. We used microwaves and hot plates instead.
At the time, I was growing in God; spending more time reading my Bible and even started watching services online. During the offering, I wanted to give, but all I had was 70¢. I was so ashamed that I fell to my knees and asked God to forgive me; at which time He spoke to my heart, not in an audible voice, but He asked if I thought He’d be impressed if I could give $70 million. I waited a minute as I had to consider that the Person asking me made planets; to which I sheepishly responded, no. He then said that if He wasn’t impressed with $70 million, then He wasn’t disappointed that I could only give 70¢. To Him, 70 million was the same as 70¢ because He’s not looking at the amount, but my heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 says,‘…For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ God was more impressed with the fact that I wanted to give, then how much I gave. So don’t talk yourself out of giving and more importantly, don't expect someone less fortunate to do the same. When we all give, God is able to do what no amount of money can and that’s change our hearts and get us out of our impoverished situations.
Pray this with me: Heavenly Father, thank You for what I have and that I have something to give. Lord, show me who I can give to this season. Lead me to someone that will appreciate what I almost despised and thank You for showing me that You are not impressed by how much I give, but by how I give. In Jesus’ name.
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