“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8:7, NIV)
It’s not just flattery. You really are the total package. Your heartfelt desire to walk with Jesus is growing. The fruit of the Spirit emerges and operates in your everyday living. Your prayers for the coming Kingdom are sincere. Your care for others and ministering to the weak is sacrificial. To the praise and glory of God, you are a totally new creation!
But here’s where things get touchy. Growing in trust and obedience doesn’t always make it to our wallets. Although it’s easy to hear this as an accusation, it isn’t. The soundness of our faith and the authenticity of our ministering is not in question. Instead, there’s a challenge here to continue growing in the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.
Yes, you are the total package…but are you generous?
This question matters to the Apostle Paul, a lot. He spends two entire chapters in 2 Corinthians talking about it. With surgical skill, he details how the church at Corinth excelled “in everything,” including “faith, speech, knowledge, earnestness, and love.” But then Paul reminds them of “the grace of giving” and directs the church to excel in that, too. It’s not an “ouch moment” but it definitely gives his listeners pause.
As an example of generosity, Paul points to the churches of Macedonia which were anything but the total package. These were week-to-week storefront churches that gave beyond their ability, despite grinding poverty. The take away from these churches is that generous giving isn’t about ability or having it all; instead, it springs directly from faith-filled devotion to God.
The regular practice of generosity deepens discipleship in a uniquely powerful way. The uncomfortable truth is that something is missing if our prayers and serving and witnessing aren’t coupled with generous giving. Instead of insult, there’s a delightful invitation here to go deeper in trusting obedience.
As you give thanks for the many expressions of your abundantly rich life in Christ, pause and ask yourself, “But am I generous?”