“Upside Down Thinking – Upside Down Giving”
2 Corinthians 8:3 “For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability."
Ephesians 3:20 (the Message) God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.
On p. 236 of Why Give, John Devries writes, “The ‘prosperity gospel’ has it all wrong. God never promises us that we can live in abundance and then give enough. He promises us that He will give us all that we need so that we can give in abundance.
The promise is not that we live in abundance but that we give in abundance.”
He goes on to say, “think of two triangles. One rests upside down on its point and rises up to spread out. The other is in the normal position, like a pyramid, with the point on the top. Biblical giving is like the first triangle, with the point on the bottom and the lines going up, spreading out. God will always give us enough to live on so that we can give in abundance. He never promises us that we can live in abundance, only that we can give in abundance!
Our giving most often resembles the opposite – the spreading part of the triangle represents what we own and the tip what we give.”
Then his questions were amazing…. and very convicting for me.
1. “Have you had unusual experiences in which God supplied unexpected funds for your giving?”
Ouch – I can say that time and time again I have experienced God GIVING me unexpected funds for something I have needed – but that was for ME – not for me to give. Cuz' you know, it is all about me.
2. “What would it be like to GIVE in abundance instead of LIVE in abundance?”
Again, Ouch! I have only thought of myself - “help me, live in abundance. Give me abundance.” instead of “help me GIVE in abundance.” I have NEVER prayed that way…. (again-ouch!)
- “Are you willing to try asking God for a specific amount of money, for a cause close to your heart, given during a month’s time, like the young man in this meditation?” (See p 233 – 235)
Hmmm. Am I brave enough – or trusting enough to try this? After seeing this Triangle Example, am I brave enough? Am I trusting enough? Are you?
After I read this devotion, I went back to the Bible and read today’s passage but began with Verse 1. I read it with different eyes, thinking about this Triangle Analogy, and am inspired to change my upside down way of thinking and my upside down way of giving.
2 Corinthians 8 "I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor."
"The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could – far more than they could afford! – pleading for the privilege of helping out… This was totally spontaneous and caught us completely off guard."
"They had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives… The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t."
So, who's with me? Can we change our upside down ways of thinking? Can we change our upside down ways of giving?