Thursday, December 05, 2013
Sacrificial Summit Prayers of Ascent - Day #5
2 Corinthians 8:7 - “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.”
I’ve been taking various texts of Scripture and allowing my heart to soak them in. As we climb toward the Sacrificial Summit in this “peak week” for our church, I want us to feel the wind of God’s Spirit moving us along. To hear his voice, to feel his nudge, to follow his promptings. There is no more powerful tool of the Spirit that the Sword of the Spirit. His Word is the best way to hear His voice.
This passage we looked at today has so many good Touchpoints to inform our hearts in this season of surrender and sacrifice. A few stood out to me…
#1 – I can sometimes think giving is less important than faith, speech, doctrine, passion and love…but it’s not.
#2 – It’s possible to excel—get better at—generosity. You don’t have to stay the same; you can improve at giving.
#3 – I wonder what an “excel”lent giver would look like? It is a skill that we really should try to perform with “excel”ence. The author seems to think so anyway.
#4 – God doesn’t minimize the other virtues, he’s just trying to open people’s heart to include giving in the character-conversation. Don’t think it sits apart…it doesn’t.
#5 – Giving is a grace. This means that God graces us with the ability to give. It is an unmerited, unearned virtue given to us by God.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I sometimes segregate giving into its own little spiritual category. There are the fruits of the Spirit…there are the gifts of the Spirit…and then there's this detached nicety called giving. It’s negotiable, it’s personal, it’s private, it’s non-essential, it’s debatable…but it’s not critical and vital...at least in our minds. I think a lot of people feel that financial giving is nobody else’s business, but this verse seems to indicate that the author was trying to debunk the myth that giving is any less of a spiritual issue than love, devotion, doctrine, or even faith.
I need that reminder when I instinctually divorce it from other important spiritual virtues. Excelling and growing in the gift of giving has to be on my radar. I hope this opportunity to sacrifice in this Banner Years Initiative has challenged many people to “get better” at giving and that it will begin a journey of generosity that improves with every day that goes by.
“God, thank you for pushing us to excel just as a coach encourages each of his or her players to reach their full potential. You know our potential, Lord. Pull it out of us with your Spirit’s coaching. In Jesus name, Amen.”