For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.
Thoughts for Today:Contrary to some teaching I've heard postulated over the last few years, Paul tells us the Lord is not interested in "deficit giving". He only asks us to give what we have, not what we don't have. Previously, Paul provided the Corinthians with the example of the Macedonians who were willing to give beyond their means. However, there is no indication (nor instruction) that they actually did so. In fact, giving more than what we have, and thereby compromising the safety and security of our families, would be in opposition to the spirit of Paul's message.
As we take a more in depth look at our passage today, we could just as easily reverse it. For example: "If there is a ‘not willing’ heart, then the gift is unacceptable." Previously (1 Corinthians 13:3), Paul explained our emphasis should be on the right motive for giving (the condition of our hearts), not on the amount of the gift or degree of sacrifice it might represent. However, the point is not to give only if we have excess funds, because that will rarely be the case. Our tithe should be given before anything else is paid. In other words, we are to begin with the tithe, and then budget the remainder of our finances accordingly.
Questions to Ponder:The Lord doesn't look at the size of our gifts in relationship to other people's. He judges our hearts. So forget the big plans and visions of future giving grandeur. Just do something (anything) now. From what we have, not from what we don't have. Will you give today -- no matter how limited your finances might be? The blessing is not from agreeing that we should give, but in doing so. We just need to do whatever we can!