Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
2 Corinthians 8:1-15 (NIV)
The Collection for the Lord’s People
8 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
What principles about giving do you observe?
Holy God, You speak to me in many ways. Thank You for speaking to my heart when I heard about the 10/10/80 principle at a church conference about 20 years ago. This principle challenged me to give the first 10% of my earnings to You, the second 10% to savings, and to trust that You would make the remaining 80% to be enough. This principle inspired me to make changes in my financial behaviors. I wasn’t at 10% in giving or saving but started where I was and increased my % of both for each every year since. Although that seemed like an uphill journey, You showed me that there was joy in blessing the church and the needs of others. Through the grace of giving, You developed contentment in my soul for what I had instead of a yearning for what I didn’t have. You led me to understand that You want generosity with more than just finances. You have helped me to recognize that absolutely everything that I have is a gift from You. I have realized that time is also a valuable asset I have been giving that is worth sharing. When I dedicate time to care for others and share Your love I am also demonstrating Your generosity. I found the joy in growing relationships with You and others as I give. But, my giving is nothing compared to what You gave for me. Out of Your great love and generosity, You gave Your life to pay the debt of my sins. Though You were rich, you became poor for my sake so that through your poverty, and death, I might become rich. Thank You for enriching my life with Your love. Thank You for the example of Jesus’ generosity. Help me to continue to excel in the grace of giving until the day that I receive the most priceless gift of all; eternal life with You. All that I have and all that I am is Yours and I pray that You use it for Your glory! Amen