Day 27: Excel in Giving
Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will … since you (Corinthians) excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us —I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. - 2 Corinthians 8:1-3, 7
Note that the Macedonian churches overflowed in rich generosity even though they were tested by severe persecution. How could this be? Most people, when facing hardship and trials, do not pull the generosity lever. What made the Macedonian churches different? They were filled with abundant joy!
Joy, unlike happiness, is not dependent on circumstances. Joy is the God-given ability to see beyond the circumstances to the bigger purpose. Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before him. Jesus saw beyond the cross to the millions who would know God due to his death on that cross. Likewise, the Macedonians could see beyond the present persecution to the larger purpose of their giving.
God tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. If you are suffering, give thanks not for the suffering but for the fact that God is the one who sustains you even in the darkest of moments!
Don’t let hardship rob you of generosity. This is the time to excel in giving. Today find ways to give to others in spite of your difficulties. As you give, look beyond your hardship to the larger purpose of your generosity. You just blessed another by your act of giving. What joy!