ACCORDING TO YOUR ABILITY
Just as God required the Israelites to offer unblemished sacrifices, He requires us today to give Him offerings that are unblemished. We must not withhold anything, but must give Him our very best. God would not accept from the Israelites animals which were blemished as sacrifices. Neither would He accept offerings which were not given in proportion to the individual’s ability to give. He required their very best. If they had the ability to offer a bullock or a lamb, He would not accept a pigeon.
Today we continue meditating on principles that the New Testament church at Macedonia followed in their giving which we should emulate in our own giving.
They gave cheerfully: God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) — one who gives willingly and ungrudgingly, without compulsion. He approves of those who, instead of waiting to be asked, look for opportunities to give to the work of God.
They followed Christ’s example: After citing the churches of Macedonia as an example, Paul set forth Christ as the supreme example for our giving:
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
There can be no greater example for us to follow in our giving than that set by the Lord Jesus. He gave up His supreme position and unmeasurable riches in Heaven, came to earth as a man, and lived in poverty (according to the world’s standards) so that we might be made rich. He not only took our sins and sicknesses upon Himself, He also took our poverty.
They gave proportionately: Following these examples of giving, Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers to finish the collection they started a year before for the relief of the saints in Jerusalem. Although they had been first to respond to the need of their brethren in Jerusalem and were anxious to give, a year had passed and little had been done. Paul told them:
So now finish doing it, that your (enthusiastic) readiness in desiring it may be equaled by your completion of it according to your ability and means. For if the (eager) readiness to give is there, then it is acceptable and welcomed in proportion to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. (2 Corinthians 8:11-12, TAB)
Paul urged the Corinthians to give according to their means, in proportion to what they had. This is God’s plan of supernatural provision. He does not intend giving to be a hardship on His people. He does not want to increase the financial burdens we carry, but rather to relieve them. In His plan of supernatural provision, He calls for every member of the Body of Christ to give according to their ability.
Make this declaration:
I will follow Christ’s example. I will give cheerfully and proportionately. I will give according to my ability.