Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16 - 2 Corinthians 8

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Corinthians 8. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • A church from Macedonia was struggling with severe poverty issues yet they still gave generously and joyfully to others who had even greater needs. Paul says they gave above and beyond their means because they knew giving is a great privilege for a believer.
  • Paul then asks the Corinthians to be generous and follow through on the promises they had already made. He praises them for excelling in their faith and knowledge, but he encourages them to excel in giving as well. 
  • Paul says that he wants them to give in accordance with what they make. This is consistent with the teaching of the rest of the Bible, where we always see percentage giving.
  • He reminds them that the willingness to give is critical, and the goal of giving is equality. When the Corinthians have extra, they can supply what others need, and vice versa.
  • Paul then tells them he is sending Titus to Corinth to receive the financial gift and wants him to be welcomed.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • It is easy in a difficult financial situation to hold your money even tighter. But the Macedonians fought that temptation and gave away more than they could afford to give. They understood that everything is God's, and so they couldn't be tight-fisted about what they had.
  • Faith and knowledge of God is important, but giving is critical. Finances are a window into our hearts. Giving is a test of our love for God. The more we love him the more we are able to loosen our grip on money and give it back to him, and away to those in need.
  • Do you follow the Bible's teaching of percentage giving? One of the great things about online giving is that you can decide on the amount you believe God is calling you to give, and set it up to happen automatically. You can set up consistent online giving at: vivalaverve.org/donate/
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • In one of the passages we’ve read before (Luke 12:22-34) Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We tend to spend our money on the things we value most. So, if someone examined how you spent your money, what would they say you value most?
    • Does how you use your money show that you truly value God?
    • If you truly love God, how do you need to change how you invest your money?
  • Are you "excelling in the grace of giving"? Not only did the Macedonians give way more than they should, they gave joyfully. Are you willing to give more? Are you able to give openly and joyfully, or does it feel mandatory and frustrating? How we feel about giving says a lot about our hearts. What can you do today to be like the generous Macedonians?