Week Four – Day 5
TODAY’S FAST – Because of God’s blessing and the generosity of God’s people you can now add an additional chicken breast per person to your meals.
Read 2 Corinthians 8
We all want to be good at something – to strive to be great in one particular area or another. So we work at it. We put all of our energy, efforts, and resources toward improving a skill, honing a talent, or bettering ourselves. This is honorable and right. Paul states in 2 Corinthians 8 that it is fine to strive for excellence in faith, speech, and knowledge. We all should grow, expand, and go all out for excellence.
The questions are: why do we want to thrive and what is our motivation? Is it just to impress people, draw attention to ourselves, make more money, or get another shiny plaque for our office? Is it possible to excel at the wrong thing? To climb to the top of the ladder of life only to discover that we have placed it against the wrong wall of success?
Paul reminds the early church that while it is important to excel in life, it is more important to excel in the right areas. He states that though they had made great efforts to prosper in everything, they were missing a most important piece – excelling in giving.
Sobering, huh? Paul knew that most often our greatest efforts would focus on us getting stuff for us. That even when we did give, it would still be selfish because of a motivation to feel good about ourselves or to be blessed in return. This attitude even affects who we give to. Often our best gifts are to those we love – like our children, family, or close friends. This type of giving does not feel very sacrificial because it isn’t. In some way, it is still almost like giving to ourselves. The Scriptures call us to a different kind – a deeper heart – of giving.
Dear God, all of my hope is in you. Thank you for how you supply for all of my needs. You are a giver who gives good gifts to your children. Help me to follow your heart in generosity. Help me be rich in good deeds and willing to share that which you have blessed me with.
“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 NIV