(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
What makes generosity easy?
Perhaps “easy” is a relative term. Generosity will always be a challenge as long as we have a sinful nature with which to contend.
So perhaps the question is, “What makes generosity…easier?”
The first century Macedonian Christians can help us out:
2 Corinthians 8:1-2 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
What is so ironic about the situation in Macedonia (northern part of modern Greece) is that Paul lists two situations in life that one MIGHT excuse generosity: Severe trial and extreme poverty.
Wouldn’t your first inclination be to let the Macedonians off the hook? Even though there was a need in Jerusalem and this gift was being gathered to help fellow Christians, the Macedonian Christians had a lot going on in their lives that it would be easy to say, “Don’t worry about it. Others who have more financial resources and are in a better place in life will carry the load.” It would have been easy for the Macedonian Christians to agree with that.
It is easy for us to agree with this and curtail our generosity or stop our giving when we are “in a tough time.” It is quite natural to think, “I am barely paying the bills. I will give when I have more money.” Or, “It’s a really tough time right now and we have a lot going on. When things settle down, then I’ll give.”
In severe trial and extreme poverty, it is easy to carry a selfish, scarcity mindset…and feel justified.
So what made rich generosity flow from severe trial and extreme poverty?
That’s the only answer.
“We want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.”
The message of Jesus had permeated the hearts of the Macedonian Christians. They understood that out of extreme poverty, Jesus lived. In severe trial, he died…for THEM!
This love was not something they earned or bought, it was freely given.
Therefore, it produced overflowing joy! Their trials faded in comparison to the suffering and death Jesus suffered for them. Their poverty was a non-issue when they realized the spiritual riches they had in Christ.
This overflowing joy produced by amazing grace resulted in rich generosity.
It can in you too.
It really does not matter your physical or financial circumstances, you can be generous at all times because the grace of God permeates and overshadows any physical or financial hardships.
In fact, when I focus on the Lord first, often the physical and financial hardships sort themselves out.
Jesus promised, “Seek his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33)
The Macedonians were real examples.
Let the overflowing joy and the rich generosity that flows from the Gospel make it easy in any circumstance to be generous.
Apply: Who in your life has been an inspiration for generosity in your life? Was their inspiration because they were generous even in severe trial and extreme poverty? Perhaps!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving me grace which leads to generosity no matter what my physical or financial situation is. AMEN.