I’m sure we’ve all heard the statement “give til it hurts.” But how many of us have ever really done that? And if we have, did we do it with a good attitude? I remember one time, years ago, the Lord taught me a lesson about giving to help someone in need. There was a new professing believer in a church that I was a part of who confided in me that he didn’t have enough money to pay for some basic bills such as electricity, etc. I asked how much he needed to get through that month and he said $600. In my “generosity”, I offered to give him $600 with the assurance he would pay me back in short order. I could handle that, such a generous guy I was! Well now about 15 years later I’m still waiting for the first refunded penny. Once I realized I wasn’t going to be getting my money back I struggled with my attitude. I was willing to loan this man some money, not give it him. Well, I’ll go ahead and say it, “shame on me!”.
Conversely, In 2 Corinthians 8 we read about a group of believers who were more than willing to help meet the needs of others, even to the point where it really did hurt. In verses 1-2, we learn that these believers were from Macedonia and were themselves going through severe trials, namely financial struggles. Paul even used the phrase, “deep poverty” to describe their situation. Yet despite that, these Gentile believers were willing to help to try to meet the need of the of believers in Jerusalem who historians say were going through a severe famine at that time. In verse 3, Paul praises them for being willing to give more than they really should have been able to give. They truly were giving until it hurt. How were they able to do that? Look back to verse 1 again. Paul says that it was the grace of God that enabled them to do that type of giving. In other words, it was only through God working in their hearts that they were able to cling so loosely to the material things of this world. What an example for us. How often we spiritually pat ourselves on our backs when we give our tithe to the church and think that God is happy with us. That is a good start but as Jesus taught us in Matthew 6, we should strive to lay up treasures in heaven instead of amassing our fortune here on earth. And one way we can certainly send that treasure on ahead is to be willing to help meet the financial needs of others. Let’s be a church that has such a heart!