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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 by his poverty might become rich.

The Apostle Paul discusses the topic of treasures, money, and giving frequently in his letters to the churches.  The Macedonians were poor but gave like they were rich.  Jesus was rich and gave it up to live an impoverished life on earth so we could know his Father.  The Philippians gave sacrificially to Paul while he was in prison and even sent a person to stay with him. In his Corinthian letters, Paul calls Christians to join with churches everywhere to give to the expansion of the Kingdom of God.  He tells them to give out of personal obedience first to the Lord, then to his Word.  Their giving encourages him as much as the gift itself.

In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul uses the word grace ten times in his discussion of giving.  He describes God’s resources available to empower and enable us. Grace gives us an opportunity to be generous in response to what Jesus ‘grace has already accomplished for us on the cross.  Grace gives us the privilege of expressing the gratitude in our hearts for what God continues to do for us.   God delights in our hearts motive, not what we give but why we give.

I’ve been evaluating what I possess. As my husband and I removed the contents of gut our entire house to refinish wood floors, I’ve been asking myself, “Am I collecting and organizing the things I own or am I sharing?”  I’ve tended to hold on tightly to the resources and possessions I’ve acquired.  But, there has been a shift in my thinking about these treasurers in recent years. I chose to stop collecting, start sharing and try giving away more.  It seems I’ve given away just little things, and it’s been difficult for me. But, gradually I am noticing my heart’s change in generosity and that’s a big thing.  I want to give because I am rich in the Lord.  Hopefully others might know the grace of God and his giving character when I give to them.  I want to be able to say from an open grace filled heart with an abundance of joy, “Everything I have is really all yours, Lord.  Whatever you tell me to do with my time, talent and treasures I will do.”

When we give our treasures, God is honored because he is worshiped rather than what we possess.  This will be a lifelong process, but it can begin now, with room to grow in generosity.  Jesus himself said, “freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13, “open wide your hearts.” Ask yourself how tightly you’re gripping your resources and possessions?  Think about how rich you are in Christ and the many treasures he’s given you.  Pray for willingness to let the grace of God fill your heart and give in response to all he’s done for you.

 

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift”
2 Corinthians 9:15

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By Donna Burns  

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