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Beyond Their Ability

Oct 4 Generosity: (2 Corinthians 8:1-15)   5 Practices of Fruitful Congregations 100409  brumc

1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. 6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15 as it is written: “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little.”

Do you know someone who gives more than they have?

Besides the federal government…

most households in America: have more debt than they have assets to pay at a given time..

$10k in unsecured credit card debt alone:

Q: How can you be generous if you have already given more than you have.. So how do a people who have no more money to give ever hope to be generous people:

A: Generosity is not always expressed through money

FRAME our daily living, with Jesus:

IF you were doing it for Jesus… what might you do?

Someone hungry, dirty,  maybe, mostly sober, what would you do for this person if Jesus was standing beside you?

Someone looking for “happiness” but truly running from painful truth… and want to stay numb to the reality… what is the generous thing to do?

Give what temps them?  tough love, leave them alone?  1 last chance,  write them off

GENEROSITY… journey with, even when no money

In the Scripture passage for today, the apostle Paul is writing to the people in Corinth, and he’s talking about money. But listen carefully to his words, because this will enable you to move past the issue of money to the issue of the heart.

Vs 7) Faith: trusting in your heart.  Speak: sing, share, the faith, Knowledge: faith in your head…. complete the work, by putting faith, words, head in action.

When we live like that, we become more thoughtful, more caring, more compassionate people. We become people who are more loving and, therefore, more lovable. That’s the consequence of emptying yourself so that the Holy Spirit may begin to fill you and make you more like Jesus.

As you give yourself away, you will become the person you always wanted to be. You empty yourself; God fills you with the Holy Spirit; and you become more like Jesus.  Serve someone else by becoming the hands and feet of Jesus Christ at work in the world. Lifting the burden of people who have never set foot on this property.

We should always be stretching ourselves beyond what we believe we can do as the Holy Spirit pulls us and directs us and empowers us to new places through the only Power that can accomplish that. No goal is too great for God.

  • Ronnie  a 3rd grader who developed brain cancer. Boys shaved heads too.
  • Pay the price. The world says to give out of abundance. That’s not biblical.
  • If hang on out of fear, we operate out of a theology of scarcity: have enough?
  • Teacher was trying to impress upon them the needs of a missionary and how they could help. 1,000,000 or 100,000 or 10,000 or 1,000 or 100 or 10 or $1, no not $1.
  • 80 year-old man who was found planting a very small, peach tree.
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