2 Corinthians 8:1-5 ERV: And now, brothers and sisters, we want to tell you what God’s grace has done in the churches in Macedonia. 2 These believers have been tested by great troubles, and they are very poor. But their great joy caused them to be very generous in their giving. 3 I can tell you that they gave as much as they were able and even more than they could afford. No one told them to do this. It was their idea. 4 But they asked us again and again—they begged us to let them share in this service for God’s people. 5 And they gave in a way that we did not expect: They gave themselves to the Lord and to us before they gave their money. This is what God wants.
I didn’t quite get this when I first read it, than I had to ask the Lord exactly what was meant. How did they give themselves to the Lord and Paul? I believe in reading the rest of the passage that these people gave of what they had, service. I wrote the other day about how God uses the most insignificant things we have in our hands, things that seem common and ordinary to us. We have become so driven to give money that we aren’t aware of the fragrance our service can be. This doesn’t always mean working in the church, although some are called to that. It can mean sharing a meal with a guest from church, doing laundry, mending clothes, giving a glass of cold water to the men who empty your trash every week.
Sometimes we overlook the incredibly small things we have always done as having no lasting value in the Kingdom. Let me squash that right now. Everything we do unto the Lord is a seed for something He has planned for our future. The Lord reminded me on Sunday of the countless people we’ve taken into our home and ‘adopted’ into our family over the years. Those were seeds for the larger vision God has placed inside of me. A dream to house widows and students, creating a family environment and mentoring them in caring for a facility, teaching them to prepare meals from little to feed many. It’s what I’ve learned over the course of life, in Haiti and with my own family in lean times. You see, when you enlarge your vision, pull up your tent stakes, believe and proclaim over your life and future, God will use whatever seeds you plant toward your future. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, how little your income is, even when things seem to be going in reverse instead of forward, you just can’t stop the blessings and multiplication of the Lord.
Lets begin with you; what do you have in your hands? What have you planted over the years that bring you so much joy? Now look out into your future; what do ask of the Lord to do with your seed? Paul talked of believers who were incredibly poor but gave so much. They gave to the Lord and him before they gave money. They wanted so badly to be a part of what Paul was doing that they begged to serve. I think our pastor would fall out in a pool of tears on the floor if this happened to him. People begging to be a part of what’s happening for the Kingdom. But that’s where our mind must be, constantly finding opportunities to give of our time and meager income so that the world may know the great love of the Father.
My grandparents took in over 100 foster children, teaching them about Jesus, changing the course of their lives forever. My parents have changed the lives of hundreds of orphans in Haiti, giving them a loving home, education and teaching them of Jesus. Neither of them had any money and struggled with finances their whole lives, living by faith that God was well able to supply all their needs and the needs of their children. They didn’t wait for enough money to come in before they did something, they obeyed and God backed them up. What do you have in your hands? What will you do with it? If you give it to God, he will turn it into the biggest blessing the world has ever seen.