DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-06-23
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL
BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)
BIBLE TEXT: Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters,[a] what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 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. 3 For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.[b] 5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
OBSERVATION: I believe that bank lenders may tend look at proposals from churches to build a multi-million dollar sanctuary, and they may wonder if the leaders have lost all sense of smart thinking and accountability. I believe the world looks at a congregation moving into a new building complex and they begin to evaluate internally if there are some drug runners attending that church, because they just can’t believe their own eyes that the congregation could afford such an elaborate building. Meditate with me on these verses from 2 Corinthians and let’s be reminded of how our Mighty God works in scenarios where His saints look to Him as the all-powerful, awesome God that He is!
APPLICATION: Notice a few very interesting points in these verses. While reviewing the facts surrounding the unexpected gifts from these churches in Macedonia, Paul immediately pointed out these were very poor churches, with various troubles going on at the time. Now, if we were to have God bless these hurting people, we would probably tell God to please settle their troubles for them so that their burdens might become lighter. We might also tell God to give them sufficient money to meet their needs so that they may not have an added financial strain on them. But how many of us would ever think of asking God to encourage them to give more. Never in a million years would we think of something so extraordinary. But fellow believers, let’s be reminded today of the awesome God that we serve. When people who are blessed beyond measure financially give, we tend to praise God for them. However, when the poorest congregations out give the churches in a community, we could only praise God for miraculously using them as His agents of hope, and to richly bless them in giving. It becomes very evident that it is only God, and nothing, or no one else who could be lifted up for the gifts that result. I believe that the most significant words in these verses come from verse 5, where Paul explains how the saints gained the attention of their Master – they gave themselves to God first, then they gave themselves to the leaders God had chosen to lead them through this special time in their lives, and the life of His church. In various denominations today churches are ruled in various ways. Some are Pastor led; some are Elder led; and some are directed and led by the church body. Regardless, the churches gave themselves to their leaders. I believe this means that they committed to God that because they were praying so consistently, persistently and regularly for His representatives/leaders at their church, they would be comfortable following God’s direction or theirs. It seems evident to me that God saw the humility of His saints in these churches; He knew the needs that existed in their community; and He knew their hearts cry to give generously for the work of the Lord, even if they had no idea where the money was coming from. God knew that His blessings would not be overlooked or abused by these congregations, and that they would be humble in allowing Him to give generously through them to this important cause. So where do we go wrong in our churches today? Of course, the church is made up of people, so we must ponder what has gone south, or wrong, with God’s people today? I would dare say that we struggle in getting over ourselves. I’m not sure if we truly know what it means to fully surrender to God, much less to each other. Friends, our Father is the giver of all good and faithful gifts from above, but He’s not a robot for which we turn on a switch for gifts to flow in certain areas of our lives. Through a one-on-one relationship with Jesus our Savior, He knows our every need and He knows when we need something, and how much we need. He needs no directing from us. He simply needs our dedication to Him and our total trust in Him. He will supply all our needs, and it will be obvious to the world that our giving is far greater than anything we could possibly come up with. Let’s look for the opportunities to lift up our God and sing His praises. As He is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself. May I encourage you today dear friend, to surrender your all to Jesus, and allow Him to be God in every way. He will be praised for His awesome works!
PRAYER: Dearest Lord Jesus, we stand humbly before You acknowledging that we are nothing without You. In spite of the many needs that we feel like we have, yet You are so very capable of doing it again – giving generously through a people that have no means to give. Make it obvious Lord that You are in control, and that You alone can fulfill our every need. There is so much that we want to do in the name of ministry, but You alone know what and when something is needed so that Your mighty works might be accomplished. In Your time; in Your space and through Your awesome power, please have Your will and way in our lives, so that we may meet the needs of our community – especially their need for a Savior. Bless as only You can, in Your perfect timing! AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!