We are going to revisit a Scripture we’ve already discussed this month. Thanksgiving will be here soon, and there is something from 2 Corinthians 8:2 that I wanted to focus on a little more. Our verse says, “They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” (NLT) Remember, the Apostle Paul is talking about the Macedonian Christians and how generous they were despite being desperately poor and going through difficult trials.
I want to focus on how they were “filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” I love Thanksgiving time and I love being able to set aside time to give thanks to God for everything He has given me, and these early church Believers show their thanks by giving to others in such a way that I feel gives us an example of how we should show our thanks as well. Especially here in the United States, we are so blessed with abundance, that I sometimes think we take it for granted.
Being generous can be shown in many ways. Most of the time we think of giving monetarily, but that isn’t the only way in which we can give generously from our abundance. Sometimes it can be something as simple as giving time to someone who is lonely or ministering to someone by using the gifts God has given us. For example, I minister in music by being on the Worship Team at church. When people are blessed by the music from our Worship Team, as a group, we are giving generously of the gift God has given us, and it blesses people, and I know for me, that makes my heart happy, and it fills me with joy. Another avenue for me is the gift of writing that God has bestowed upon me, and as I give of myself to minister to those who read my blog, I am filled with joy. I have had several people tell me that my blog posts are a blessing to them. God gave me this ministry to reach people for Jesus, and when they tell me that something I have written has touched their heart, I am so grateful to God for giving me this avenue to witness for Him.
God gives to us too! Jesus gave EVERYTHING! He gave His life for us. Our response to His gift to us should be to give to others as well. In that way, we show God our gratitude for the gift of salvation He has given us. As we give to others, we receive blessings as well. The blessings may not come in the form of something tangible like money, but they may be something like abundant joy, peace in our hearts, and love for others.
Before we get involved in the activities of Christmas, we need to stop and embrace Thanksgiving in ways that show our gratefulness to God for His love, mercy, and grace, by reaching out to those who are in need.
Many of us have heard that it is better to give than receive. Acts 20:35 says, “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this way you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (NASB) Especially as children, I don’t think we truly understood this, and I feel that some adults don’t get it either. In giving of our money, our time, our talents, our gifts, and many other things, we receive just as much as the one we are blessing. Joy fills our hearts as we see the look on their face or see the reaction of receiving our gift. We are giving out of the abundance of what God has given us, and in so doing, we also receive something.