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The Privilege of Generosity
2 Corinthians 8:3-4
3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,
4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.
We have an understandably human reaction when we do something generous for someone else: we expect to be thanked. After all, we just went out of our way to do something above and beyond, and it’s just the natural thing to do that they would thank us. But, you know what? When we’re generous with others, we should be grateful, too.
A great example of this is in 2 Corinthians, Chapter 8. There, Paul describes just how passionately the Macedonian churches wanted to help. He says that even though they were living in extreme poverty and trial, their joy for the Lord welled up, reflected in rich generosity. They even went so far that they were pleading with Paul to be given the privilege (the privilege!) of sharing in the service to the saints.
I find their example so humbling. Here these people are, barely getting by on their own. Yet despite their circumstances and because of the joy of the Gospel, they are chomping at the bit to be generous with others. And I can think of so many examples in my own life when, even though I was living way more comfortably than these Macedonian churches probably were, I dodged opportunities to give to ministries or missionaries. And sometimes when I did give I didn’t do it with a joyful heart.
My prayer for my own life – and for yours – is that we would have the perspective of the Macedonian believers. The truth is that it is our immense privilege to be children of God and, not only that, he goes on to use our small lives and our generosity to work out his plans in the world. So the next time you do something generous for someone, they may or may not thank you. But, if these Macedonians inspire you the way they inspire me, you might just thank them.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Who are the “Macedonians” in your life that need to be thanked? Write them down - and why - below. Then pick up the phone to them and say, “Thank you!”
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.