I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Thoughts for Today:In our passage today, Paul instructs, he does not command. So what is the difference between a command and an instruction? One is voluntary the other is not. If the act of giving were a compulsory requirement, it would not by definition be a gift. Rather, it would be the fulfillment of an obligation or payment for something received. That is not the case when it comes to New Testament giving.
The same God who made everything -- also laid it all aside to enter total poverty for our benefit -- so we might become rich. When we truly embrace how much Jesus gave up we can begin to understand what giving is all about. It's a test by comparison. Not between what other people give and what we give. But by His greatest gift of all. Therefore, anything we give is small in comparison to what He gave up so we might become wealthy.
To the person not in love with Jesus, any giving is a burdensome chore -- it's difficult, painful, and onerous. On the other hand, if we love Jesus, giving is one way we have to respond to His sacrifice and demonstrate our great passion for Him.
Questions to Ponder:God didn't just give us something He had -- He gave Himself. His sacrifice wasn't to satisfy His own need, but because of ours. God's motivation was solely for our benefit which demonstrated His great love for us (John 3:16). In response, and with a similar degree of inspiration and enthusiasm, Paul instructs us to give unselfishly to others. What is your attitude about giving? Is it anywhere near the Lord's? Can it be elevated? How much passion do you have for Jesus?