Jane Fowler serves as Group Life Program Director at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. In that capacity, she encourages our congregation to be a part of the Journey of Knowing, Loving and Serving God and others by being in authentic community and growing in your love and knowledge of Christ.
Read and Reflect:
If someone were to describe you, would they say you were generous, a giving person? Are you generous with your words toward others? Maybe you give to others in your daily actions and deeds. Or maybe you are generous in your financial giving. Most everyone wants to be generous. Often, we have every intention of being generous, but we don’t follow through with our good intentions.
In our scripture passage today, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth to see that their good intentions are translated into action. They pledged to financially help the struggling churches in Jerusalem, but a year later they had not acted on their pledge. The Corinthian believers excelled in everything—they had faith, good preaching, knowledge, earnestness and much love. Giving is a natural response of love. If you love someone, you give them your time and attention and provide for their needs. Paul wanted the Corinthians to prove their love was sincere by giving.
Unlike the prosperity found in Corinth, the Christians in Macedonia were not well off. But when they heard of the need of their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem, they gave freely. They did not have to be pressured or coaxed. The particular way in which they showed they had received the grace of God was by their generosity.“
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (verse 9). God gave everything, including a son, so that we might have eternal life. What does God expect in return?
We love God and love others and we give with a willing heart and out of gratitude for what God has done for us. The point of giving is not so much the amount we give, but why and how we give.
When my daughter was in grade school, a classmates’ house burned to the ground. Thankfully, no one was injured; they were all at school or work. The school counselor sent a note home asking for donations for the family. They were covered by insurance, but it could be days or weeks before they saw any type of reimbursement. My daughter filled a bag with clothes that would fit her classmate and emptied her piggy bank into a zip lock bag. I counted the money in the baggie and told Maddy how proud of her I was for her giving heart. But, I asked, was she sure she wanted to give all her money? Maybe she should put a couple of the $20 bills back in her bank? Her response should have been mine: “Mom, I don’t need my money right now and they have lost everything.”
Prayer and Meditation
Dear God, help us to be generous people. Help us to be generous with our words—let us use words to build each other up and not tear down. Help us to be generous with our gifts and serve our families, our community and our world according to your plan. Help us to be generous with our money—to give first instead of out of what is left over. Help us to be grateful in all we do, by remembering it was you who first gave to us.
Be, Do & Go
The kingdom of God spreads through believers’ concern and willingness to help others. Put your faith into action today—serve in your community. If you don’t know where to start, Resurrection has opportunities listed at www.cor.org/missions.
Use this section to help prompt discussion with your spouse, children, small group, etc.
Giving is personal. God does not compare the amount we give to what others give. It is a topic that is rarely discussed, even among family members, yet it shapes how we live our lives. It might be helpful as a family to discuss your expectation or motivation behind giving. Be honest.
1. When you give, do you have an expectation of getting something in return?
2. Have you ever considered giving out of gratitude? How might this change how you give?
3. Do you plan your financial giving and make it a priority in your budget? Or do you
hope there is something left over to give at the end of the month?
4. Do you believe giving is a purely financial matter, or a matter of the heart?
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.