READ : 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . so that by his poverty you might become rich. (v. 9)
Sorting out our motives for giving is difficult. Perhaps our giving is the price we pay for moral comfort. Or maybe we do it to satisfy our craving for others to think well of us. No one likes to be thought miserly.
I recall one evening when I got a phone call asking for a financial pledge. Before I could say, “This is not a good time,” the voice on the other end said, “I want to say first how much I enjoy attending your church when I’m in town.” I pledged generously.
For Paul, the drive to give is neither a healthy self-esteem nor the applause of others: it is God’s grace. Because of grace, an overflowing joy expressed itself among the Macedonians in over-the-top generosity. Generosity in our lives is a hallmark of grace.
Cars have catalytic converters, which take carbon monoxide and other pollutants and convert them into carbon dioxide and water. The gospel is a grace-converter that takes self-centered folk and converts them into radically generous folk. We should strive to excel in giving. In fact, if God’s grace does not eventually melt our hearts and open our wallets, it’s doubtful we’ve ever truly encountered it.
May your grace transform us into a generous people. In Jesus’ name, Amen.