And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality.
Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so the churches can see it.2 Corinthians 8:5, 14, 24
In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul uses the example of the Macedonian Churches to teach the Corinthian Christians. Although the Macedonians were under affliction, they acted as role models and gave themselves to the Lord with utmost devotion. Then they trusted Paul and the other apostles by giving according to their ability.
When we think about giving, we often think about money. However, it’s more about giving ourselves to the Lord. If we commit ourselves fully to Him, then His vision of giving will naturally flow out of us in love, faith, and compassion. Paul wanted the Corinthians to know that we give ourselves in service because God first gave us His grace. Paul sent Titus to encourage and remind them of this truth so that they might encourage others in the same way. We can have the desire to give, but our intentions, vows, and resolutions are meaningless without action.
At Willow, we believe we are to live a life devoted to Christ, leading by example and giving grace to others, much like the Macedonian Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ freely gives His grace every day. Just as Christ sacrificed His life for us, it is time to follow Christ’s example and sacrifice for the good of others. When we give from the spiritual abundance we have received, God can work powerfully through us to address some of the inequalities we see in the world. Our giving is proof of our Christ-like character and the love we have received from God. No matter where we go or what we give, may we truly live as fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, exhibiting His love in our actions.
- Have you committed your life fully to the Lord and received His grace? If you have questions or want to share your decision with someone, reach out to your campus Groups Pastor or call a Willow Response Pastor at 847-765-5000.
- Spend time in prayer, asking God how you might join in Celebration of Hope as we partner with churches around the world. What is He inviting you to give?
- Ponder these questions with God: Is my life worth imitating? In what area of my life do I need to repent and turn back to God?