2 Corinthians 8:7-15 (NRSV)
Verse 7Now as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you-so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. Verse 8I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. Verse 9For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Verse 10And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something- Verse 11now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. Verse 12For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has-not according to what one does not have. Verse 13I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between Verse 14your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. Verse 15As it is written, "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little."
I would call myself frugal or penurious because it sounded much better than stingy or cheap. I enjoy giving to others, sharing my time and gifts with people, being kind and encouraging, and helping others out, but I wanted to cultivate a generous spirit. I couldn’t turn off the voice in my head that said, “What’s in it for me?” I loved giving to others and sharing myself, but I sure loved getting gifts too. Several years ago I received a prayer rock with the word generous on it. Alright, let’s give this genuine generosity a go. I prayed about it almost every day and tried to be intentionally and willingly giving of myself, my time, and treasures to others. There were days I was frustrated, but I witnessed God’s transforming love and generosity not only in me, but in others too. I still really like getting gifts.
Giving God, help us to be generous with our love and kindness and care as we share your bountiful spirit with all. Amen.