NT Fire Starters – Day 251: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15
READ: 2 Corinthians 8:1–9:15
THINK: Hyper-speed computers, personal digital assistants, Internet shopping, GPS systems, iPhones, and drive-up windows for everything. Our culture is obsessed with convenience. While there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of technological advancements, we must remember that no great gain comes without personal sacrifice–and if it’s convenient, it’s not a sacrifice. Some of the people described in this passage gave more than enough when things were tough. Their gifts were an expression of love for the One who had given them His all.
RESPOND: How are the Macedonians an example to all Christians? What giving principles do these chapters highlight? (See 8:2 note.) What attitudes should you have about giving to God and to those in need? Why is it important to grow in giving as much as any other spiritual disciplines like love and faith? (See 8:7 note.) How does giving demonstrate sincere love and faith? What does it mean to “excel” in giving? How did Jesus provide the ultimate example of giving? (See 8:9 note.) Why is it important to keep commitments and to finish what you start (vv. 10-12)? What kind of equality does God desire among His people (vv. 13-15), and how can we achieve this? What’s the difference between giving generously and giving grudgingly (v. 5)? How will a person’s giving habits come back on him or her? (See 9:6 note.) What does verse 6 say about going beyond what’s convenient? What’s “a cheerful giver”? (See 9:8 note.) What does it mean to “be made rich in every way”? (See 9:11 note.) Who should get the credit for your giving (vv. 11-13)? What is God’s “indescribable gift,” and how should it affect your generosity? (See 9:15 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to give you a heart of gratitude toward Him that demonstrates sincere generosity toward others.
ACT: Think of someone who lives with an inconvenience (physical ailment, bad home situation, etc.) that you could do something to relieve. Helping the person may not be convenient, but it can give you a fresh perspective on giving. Also, put something extra toward your missions giving goal this week, and be sure you plan to fulfill your overall goal. Review the article on Campus Missions Commitment to Give, p. 1254. Then see the giving ideas on page 2279.