2 CORINTHIANS 8:5
And they did not do as expected, but they gave first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
The 1st thing that hit me regarding this verse and meditation was “expected”. Pastor always preaches about thinking outside the box (not thinking or doing what’s expected). That is really hard for me because I like having a plan and sticking with it. I like a beginning point and an end point. Then when I get to that end point, I’m done! I can check that thing or action off my to do list. I get really frustrated if everything doesn’t go according to MY plan! Therein lies the problem-MY plan not His plan! My expectations, not HIS!
But this verse says they did not do what was expected. They did not pay the rent or mortgage, buy the groceries, buy the new car, buy the latest electronic toy (Apple I Phone 6,7 or whatever number they are on now). They did not make sure they had enough left after paying the bills or buying a new toy, to tithe or donate to the Storehouse, or to the Love Fund or to Gifts of Grace. They gave first to the Lord knowing that He has promised to provide our daily bread. He didn’t promise to provide a new car or new I Phone!
As Devries says, “Cluttered vision is one of the primary hindrances to giving.” We worry about our wants & desires, without considering what God wants. When we think of Christ’s sacrifice, as Devries says, we should be motivated by gratitude.
I admit that I have a hard time receiving. But I take great pleasure in giving. Therein lies the point of what Devries, Pastor and Christ are saying-I should receive God’s Grace and give God’s grace to others. I should be just as joyous receiving as I am giving. By giving I am also receiving! When I give money, time, labor etc. to Point of Grace or another person in need, I get great joy knowing what I have done has benefited someone or something else. I also receive the joy of Christ knowing that His ultimate sacrifice makes my small sacrifice worthwhile and significant.
Do we do the unexpected and give first to the Lord? I want to be outside the box. I want to give first to the Lord-my time, money and passion. I want to rid myself of the “cluttered vision” and experience the Joy that surrounds me in Christ and my fellow man.
Lord, please help me with my cluttered vision. Please help me to both receive and give your Grace. Please help me to experience the joy of sacrificial giving (& receiving) that is made possible by Christ’s sacrifice. Thank you for setting the example so that I can do the unexpected and act outside the box.