And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Friend to Friend
My husband is a surrendered giver. I struggle with giving. I tend to blame my reluctance to give on the fact that I grew up in a shack on the edge of town. My mother often worked two and three jobs a day just to put food on the table. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a middle-class family, lived in a very nice house in a beautiful neighborhood, and never had to worry about having his needs met. You can see where my rationalizations took me. Yep – to a place of sin.
God wants us to surrender everything we have to Him because the reality is that giving is the antidote to selfishness. I can choose to be selfish or selfless. But I need to live in a way that searches for opportunities to be generous. Over the years, Dan has taught me so much about what it means to be a surrendered giver.
We are to give as much as we are able to give. Two years ago, we downsized so that we would have more money to give away. We both drive older used cars. There is nothing wrong with buying a new car or a bigger house – unless it affects our ability to give.
The church in Macedonia saw giving as a privilege. We need to do the same.
We need to look for opportunities to give. Love gives. For God so loved the church that He … gave! A surrendered giver gives out of gratitude for what God has done in his life and is willing to stretch and develop a generosity reflex when presented with a need.
Jesus measures what we give by what we have left. Do you tithe the ten percent we are challenged to give? How would you respond if Jesus asked you to double your tithe? Whoa! That is a lot to ask – right?
We have a friend who attended a conference where the speaker challenged each attendee to double their tithes and see what God would do in their lives. Our friend accepted the challenge and has seen his business mushroom into a huge success. Today, he not only gives a double tithe, but he also gives to meet the needs of many in our community. He is also one of the most humble and unassuming people I have ever met.
Another friend has a great way to look for opportunities to give. He has two accounts. One for his living expenses and then there is his God account. He is a Day Trader. Each morning he gets up and says, “Where are we going to give today, Lord?” I know this attitude absolutely delights the Father who is the ultimate surrendered giver.
The reality is that if my checkbook does not reflect my faith, I have an immature faith. God does not need my money. He wants me to give so He can bless me!
How about you? What kind of giver are you?
Father, thank You for being the ultimate giver when You sent Your son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins. Change my heart. Teach me to become a servant who holds the things of this world loosely. Use me to help meet the needs of others. Transform me and help me learn to be a surrendered giver. I am Yours, Lord!
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
God always reveals His plan to a seeking heart. Are you willing to do whatever God asks you to do? Give whatever He asks you to give?
Read Jeremiah 29:11 and record it in your journal. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (NIV).
Ask God for His direction.
Pay attention to the passion of your heart.
Realistically evaluate your abilities and talents.
Consider the advice of those who know you best.
Then step out in faith, trusting God to help you make the right choice about giving.
More from the Girlfriends
When it comes to being a surrendered giver, trust can be a scary proposition … unless you are sure of the person you are trusting. Mary’s book, 10-Day Trust Adventure, will help you take that step of faith.
And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.