THE SHIRT OFF OF THEIR BACKS: It seems like it is so often the case where the neediest people are at the same time the most generous. This was true of the Macedonians, who not only gave as much as they were able, but then gave beyond their ability (v3). They had this generous attitude because they understood that giving was a privilege and not an obligation (v4). How do you experience giving? When you write a check, drop money in an offering bag, or make a donation, or nowadays click the online giving link, what emotion do you feel? If you're not experiencing peace as you do so, what's getting in the way of that?
GET GOOD AT IT: We understand the concept of continuous improvement. We expect to improve our free throw shooting percentage from year to year, to increase our yield per acre every season, and to operate more efficiently in our operations. This takes hard work and dedication to achieve, but for the most part, we are committed to it. This is especially true for us as Christians who see these activities as an extension of our worship and a way to glorify God.
But how many of us are truly committed to 'excelling at the grace of giving (v7)?' You know what steps you need to take to excel at your work and hobbies, but what specific things can you do to more and more excel at giving?
WAS PAUL A COMMUNIST? A communist motto is 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.' At first glance, this seems very similar to v13-15, but there are massive differences. First, Paul recognizes that while our abilities enable us to accumulate wealth, ultimately both our abilities and our wealth are gifts of God's grace. Communism, of course, seeks to eliminate any trace of God from society; a person's means come as a result of government. Secondly, the communist model takes from each according to his ability and then distributes according to the needs of the people as the government sees fit.
The Bible is certainly not communist, but neither is it capitalist, nor any other sort of 'ist.' Instead, Christians are to realize their primary goal is neither wealth accumulation nor building a utopian society, but rather to glorify God and live together with His people in the fellowship of the Church.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is the giver of all wealth and ability, but also the giver of grace that we must model.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Excel at sharing the grace God has given you (v7).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: