The past few weeks we have been discussing in 2 Corinthians about giving. The specific context was for the church to give for the saints in Jerusalem. Paul used the example of the church in Macedonia to encourage the church in Corinth to give generously. He said in 2 Corinthians 8:2, “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” I loved that Paul used the example of a church that was struggling and extremely poor, to encourage churches that are better off to give generously. Our fleshly nature only wants to give when there is abundance, but the scriptures are pretty clear that a giving heart and attitude should be inside of us no matter what our bottom line. Money is one of those things that is many times abused in a church setting because someone is a manipulator or someone has the ability to give an emotional plea in order for an offering to be then collected. God never designed it like that. God wants us to be giving because He first loved us and gave it all for us! Paul later says in 2 Corinthians 9:5 that, “I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly.” In this Christmas season that is so often consumed with shopping and the eager anticipation of what we will receive, I pray that we would be a church that is most concerned with giving and giving generously as Paul encouraged the church in Corinth.
Being generous and giving doesn’t always mean coughing up extra cash. Being generous and giving goes much further than money; it is our time and our lives. We as Christians should be generous with everything we have. I have been encouraging the youth group to think of giving with their lives and service. We do a lot of things as a youth group outside of the normal Wednesday and Sunday service. Some of these events include cleaning or service projects, and the attendance is always lower. How can this be that we as people saved and blessed by God, don’t want to give generously with our lives? I encourage you as a church to be people that are known for giving, and not just sitting by and watching others live this out. We have many opportunities in our church this month to give back and give generously. We will be visiting homeless people and sharing Christmas cards and gifts, visiting the patients at Byron Health Center and giving them presents, providing gifts for kids that have moms in the prison system, and singing to the elderly in retirement homes. Please pray how God can use you, and how you can give generously. This isn’t a call to give money, but a call to give our lives to glorify God. Lets be a church and a youth group that wants to draw closer to God and He will draw closer to us.