"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
Thoughts for Today:Previously in verse 33 Paul said, "I have not coveted"; now in today's passage Paul quotes Jesus, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." I don't think it is by accident that these two verses are in such close proximity. It's pretty clear that Paul's point is: The cure for the disease of coveting is giving.
In the example of the rich ruler (Luke 18:18-25), Jesus said "You are a slave to your material possessions -- sell them and give the proceeds to the poor." Once again a clear illustration that the prescriptive cure for coveting is giving. So the next question then might be: Where are we to give our money? As interesting as it might seem that decision is only partially ours to make -- the tithe (first 10% of income), always belongs to the Lord and His church, and it is His decision alone (through the church body) how to spend it. True giving comes in above the tithe -- that's the area we get to decide where to give our money. Most people never get past the tithe, so they don't experience the joy of "real" giving and in my opinion is why "coveting" is such an issue in the world today.
Questions to Ponder:I know this is a really tough lesson today; one that probably hits home for most of us. The question that is most often asked of me when I teach on this subject is: How do I get to there (tithing and "real" giving) from here (debt up to my eyeballs and living expenses I can barely manage)? Answer: The same way two people with the same job and income look financially the opposite after 25 years. One is well situated for retirement the other is still barely able to make ends meet. Why? Because of small things. Mount Rushmore wasn't created with a stick of dynamite -- it was sculpted one chip at a time. The same is true of giving. Rather than go to Starbucks every day this week, go every other day and place your offering before the Lord; take your lunch to work one day this week and give the savings to the Lord; do your children a favor and sign them up for one less activity this quarter and give it to the Lord. The key of course is to give it to the Lord, not spend the savings on something else. Will you start today?