2 Corinthians 7-11
God’s timing makes me smile sometimes.
Paul is writing to the Corinthians about financial giving, especially toward missionary endeavors. Now these chapters have been in the Bible for centuries, I have read them multiple of times myself, and even taught a Bible study from them. But today, God directed Paul’s words specifically toward me.
Because yesterday, our pastor introduced the Southern Baptist Mission Board’s annual Lottie Moon offering for the month of December. See what I mean about God’s timing? Our pastor, a former missionary, is passionate about sharing the Gospel with the whole world. His enthusiasm is contagious.
During his sermon he asked us to pray that God would give us each a number, an amount God would have us contribute toward our church’s goal, which by the way, seems a staggering goal compared to what we’ve given in the past. Like I said, his enthusiasm is contagious.
Anyway, as I was reading this morning and realized Paul was talking about financial support of missions, I stopped and asked God to put a dollar amount on my heart. As I read, a number kept coming to mind. “I can do that,” I answered.
I kept reading, and another, larger amount came to mind. “Really? Well, ok. I can do that,” I said. As I continued to read, another, even larger amount came to mind.
I quit reading.
Just kidding. In fact, I find it thrilling that God and I had that personal conversation this morning. Don’t you love reading His Word?
Paul said the poverty in the Macedonian churches “welled up in rich generosity.” Why shouldn’t I express rich generosity, too? I am not in poverty. He challenged me to “excel in this grace of giving.” I think I need to take that challenge.
Then Paul said, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously, will also reap generously.” That was like a dagger to my heart.
I have to ask myself what kind of harvest I am expecting from my financial support of missions. Do I want just a tiny harvest of souls introduced to Jesus through my tiny contribution? Or do I want an extravagant number of souls saved through my extravagant gift?
I wonder how big a check any of us would write if we knew that $1=one eternal soul. Would $10 be sufficient? Is that what we are sowing, hoping for 10 people to come to the Lord?
I believe God has laid a number on my heart, and I will continue to pray and read His Word to be sure that number is truly from Him. I want to write a check equal to what God is asking of me, not because I want to please our new pastor, or to help our church reach it’s goal.
I want to give what God has laid on my heart because, like Paul said in 9:12, it is an “outpouring of thanks to God.”
And, friend, I have lots of reasons to give thanks to God. Lots of reasons! And I am learning that supporting missions is one way I can express my thanks to my generous Lord.