I don’t work out a lot. Ok, hardly at all. (I am not bragging. Just being honest.) However, when I do exercise, I often work out the body parts that I enjoy working out, or those that are ‘easier’ for me to work out. I know there are weaker areas that really need more attention, but those are just not as fun to address (and may cause me greater pain in the process – even though I know the pain indicates work and growth). But, one thing is for sure, if I only work out those areas I want to work out, those weaker, unattended areas will never get stronger and will, in the end, cause me to be weaker overall.
I started a new sermon series yesterday entitled “Stewardship: What Our Giving Says About Our Hearts.” The first message was from 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 – “We Must Give as Recipients of God’s Grace.” (You can soon find the message here.) One of things that challenged me in that passage was Paul’s admonition for the Corinthian believers to “excel in this act of grace also.” What “act of grace?” Their giving! He acknowledged how they were excelling in “faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you” (2 Cor. 8:7). But he also challenges them to “excel” in their giving as an “act of grace” – an outward demonstration of the transforming grace of God in their lives.
For many of us, our spiritual walk is kind of like my exercise routine. We spiritually “work out” (or seek to excel/grow) in the areas that are comfortable for us – prayer, Bible study, fellowship, worship, etc. But, how many of us really intentionally seek to “excel” in the grace of giving? How often do we consciously consider the heart from which which give (not just the amount of our check), and ask God to grow our faith and practice in this “act of grace?”
Questions to consider:
1. How often do I give specific attention to asking God to help me “excel” in this “act of grace” – i.e. my giving?
2. What does my current practice of financial giving to my church and the work of God’s kingdom say about my heart’s understanding of the grace of God that I have received through Jesus Christ?
(Has God helped you to grow in this “grace” of giving? Share what He has taught you in the comments below.)
(Photo used with permission courtesy of Aaron Patterson on Flickr)