144 more days until Christmas…WHAT?! We aren’t back in school yet you big bozo, what in the world you mean Christmas…hahaha well it’s true. Hey keep that thought, no not that bad one, but the thought of Christmas.
Why do you give at Christmas time? Yea your heart is open, it’s wanting to, a desire to share with others, for the most part done eagerly, with zeal, with zest. Hearts wide open on the day when those you love open the package you picked just for them.
I believe that’s exactly how God desires for our hearts to be when we give. Yea go take a cruise through Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians and read chapter 8 and fold on over into chapter 9 to see words like giving of their own free will, wanting to give, overflow with joy that manifests to generosity. You’ll see words like give according to what you have, and whatever you give is acceptable as long….check this out….as long as it’s given eagerly. You decide what to give, where to give and when to give…WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT….where is the mention of pledge cards, or commitment cards. hang on let me go back through the verses hahaha. Oh oh yea, the church was meeting predominantly in homes hmmmmm there were no such a thing in this time…yea and the giving paul is describing from the Macedonians is like giving we see today when catastrophe’s strike, like tsunami’s, tornadoes, hurricanes. Those kinda happenings where people are eager to give and help relief some of the stress, yet the day to day settles back in on us….
So here is Paul describing a people in Macedonia, who by anyones standards was down and out, yet begging to give. Giving to the point where he paul who had the damascus road experience with Christ was blown away and he is letting the Corinthians know the generosity (openness of heart) that was flowing from how the macedonians were beLIeVING, which i think was done so to bolster their confidence that the HIM within will help carry you through in your gift of giving. But giving what? themselves first (2 corinthians 8:5) Paul knows what it is like to not give yourself first to Christ. You see Paul describes who he was before Christ.
Phl 3:5-7 NLT 5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin–a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. 7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.
Wow what really sticks out to me is that here is a man, Paul, who boldly claims that he followed the law without fault, now knows that through Christ ALL things are fulfilled and through our yes to Jesus we too are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).He considers everything else worthless compared to Christ….YES YES YES….oh wait but the paid staff distribute the cash…the committees…NO WAY MISTER…go back and read the letters again and guess what? We graduated from the same seminary as the disciples walking with Jesus. HSU (holy spirit university) hahaha yes the chant is HIM WITHIN…HIM WITHIN…HIM WITHIN..That’s where giving like it’s Christmas everyday is birthed from gang. So i get it…the man who could follow the law without fault, now sees the fault in giving that is forced from obligation to buildings, budgets, paid personnel vs giving that is spawned from grace freedom from no paid personnel, no building campaigns, no pledge cards. That’s why he never mentions a percentage, or a tithe. We are free to give when, where and how the HIM within (the Holy Spirit of Christ) determines.
And last but not least…we fulfill the original intent of the giving and that is to help each other who may be in a season that they never planned on being. the cash is cut loose to help orphans, widows, strangers (homeless) that’s on both sides of the book gang. christ emptying the tomb (the greatest gift of all time) took the control from a few and gave it to ALL who beLIeVE…game time…HIM WITHIN….HIM WITHIN….HIM WITHIN…