We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us (2 Corinthians 8:1-5, ESV).I used to fret over my inability to do anything to solve the problems of hunger, homelessness, and injustice. It pained me to see needy individuals whose problems were seemingly insurmountable, knowing that I did not have the resources to do more than put a band-aid on their situation. Not too long ago, our family was in a season of financial reversal, facing foreclosure and shopping with food stamps. Were it not for our church family, caring neighbors, and generous in-laws we would have languished in our hopelessness and been out on the streets. I am convinced the reason we found ourselves on the receiving end of the generosity of others is because we had been faithful and obedient givers in our local church.
Now that we have come through our financial crisis I find myself serving in a church that truly does make a difference in the lives of the needy in our community. The tithes and offerings we give not only keep the lights on and the salaries paid, but actually do make it possible to wage war and win the battle against the social problems of poverty and homelessness in our area.
We don't have to be rich to make a difference in this world. As we work together, God will supply not only our needs but also the needs of those whose problems are far greater than our limited resources. "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8, NKJV). Rather than withhold our giving because we feel it would be inadequate to meet the need, we should give joyfully knowing that in the end every little bit helps. If we in the Church do not give obediently and generously, then what hope is there for the world?
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