July 5, 2019
2 Corinthians 8:1-7
by Brian Inman
Pastor of Peck's Memorial UMC (Maryville, TN)
Recently, our church had someone with a financial need, and we “passed the hat” at the end of our worship service, and came up with close to $400.00 – not bad! We are a small but generous church, and according to Paul, that is a good quality to possess. The church of Macedonia “gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.” So, did any of our church members go without lunch last week as a result of their generosity? Probably not – but still…a need was met, and God was glorified in the process. Another trait that God is pleased with is when we are generous, and give without being pressured to do so. The Macedonians gave “entirely on their own” – it was their idea, and they considered it a privilege and an honor to be in The Lord’s service in some way. That’s how The Lord wants it to be – just one chapter ahead in 2 Corinthians 9, Paul assures us that whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully – “for God loves a cheerful giver.” Being used by The Lord is among the highest honors that we can attain, whether it be directly in ministry or simply by being nice to someone who needs some love and encouragement – or perhaps giving to someone in need. If we are completely honest about this, God doesn’t really need us to give Him anything – it’s all His anyway, so it’s not a case of providing something that He is somehow lacking. He simply wants instill in each one of us a spirit of generosity in realizing that while we may obtain earthly wealth…it’s still all His. There is need all around us, and while we can’t necessarily help everybody in need, we can do our part and help one person – or one group of people. In addition, when we do this, God pours blessing upon blessing upon us and showers us with His grace. I ran across this online and thought it fit the topic of being generous pretty well:
“Tip your server. Return your shopping cart. Pick up a piece of trash. Hold the door for the person behind you. Let someone into your lane. Small acts can have a ripple effect. That’s how we change the world.” – Jim Cody, inspirational motivator.
And I would add – that’s how we bring a smile to God’s face, by being generous and showing the love of Christ through giving. Indeed, that’s how we can change the world.
Prayer: Most Gracious God, thank you for the many ways in which you provide for our needs daily. There are so many people in the world who struggle to find enough to eat and provide what they need to survive. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart willing to give freely, generously, and joyfully. Help us to be your hands and feet and help those who are less fortunate that we are – and in doing so, to point them directly to you as the source of all that is good and worthy of our praise. In Jesus Name, Amen
Brian Inman – Pastor
Peck’s Memorial UMC – Maryville, TN