“Abundance of joy . . overflowed into the wealth of their generosity.” 2 Corinthians 8:2
“Joy that floods a thankful heart overflows in joyous liberality.”
My thoughts today are about a “circle of blessing.”
Enjoy a Blessed Thanksgiving! But remember, thanksgiving is not a day; it’s a lifestyle. Thanksgiving brings to mind the dual graces of gratitude and generosity; those two are directly related. Truly grateful people are consistently more generous people. I have observed that people who struggle with being thankful seldom find it in their heart or means to be generous with others. Since they hardly ever feel that God or anyone else has given enough to them, they feel little inclination to express thanks to God or share generously with others.
A grateful heart is the secret of true generosity of spirit, and both are choices you make. The Bible principle is this: “Freely you have received, freely also give.” Matthew 10:28 NIV. So begins and continues an endless circle of blessing for yourself and others. “You are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving . .” See 2 Corinthians 9:6-12 NIV.
Expressions of generosity begin with a heart thankful for what has been given or done for you. Most of us learn to give by either receiving such undeserved generosity until we cannot ourselves withhold when having the ability and opportunity to give to another, or by experiencing the overflowing joy that comes to those who live liberally and give generously.
“Just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8.7 NIV. In the context of this verse, Paul used the example of Christ-followers in Philippi to encourage those in Corinth to discover their joy in a lifestyle of liberality.
Notice the remarkable description of these truly generous people: “Their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity.” 2 Corinthians 8:2. Joy doesn’t come because you want it; joy comes when you choose it. Unhappy people are not generous in character or conduct, and generous people are not unhappy. Joy that floods a thankful heart overflows in joyous liberality.
Generosity is overflowing, not sparing. These joyful, generous folk gave “according to their ability, and beyond their ability.” 2 Corinthians 8:3. Giving must overflow from a thankful heart in the measure you have received, or you will restrict the amount you feel you can afford without being the poorer for it. You are richer, never poorer, when you give as unto the Lord.
Generosity begins with yourself, and then involves your resources. “They first gave themselves to the Lord, and then gave to us by the will of God.” 2 Corinthians 8:5. If you do not first know that you belong to the Lord, then you will not believe that what you have belongs to Him, to be shared.
Generosity recognizes everything belongs to God. “they . . gave to us by the will of God.” 2 Corinthians 8:5. If you belong to Him and He is the Source of all you receive, how can anything you possess be unavailable to His direction?
Generosity is a grace where you can excel, however much or little you have. “As you excel in everything . . also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7. What you have been given is with grace and generosity – practical evidence of God’s gracious kindness and generous provision; what you give must be with grace and generosity as well.