September 23, 2007

Show Me the Money!

2 Corinthians 8:1-7

Their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:2


Do you know what an oxymoron is? It's a contradiction in terms, such as jumbo shrimp, random order, pretty ugly, or peace force.

A paradox is different. A paradox is true even though it goes against common sense.

The Christian life is full of paradoxes. Jesus often pointed them out in his teaching. For example, he said, "To become rich, you must become poor."

The church in the city of Corinth practiced the paradox of giving while living in poverty. The apostle Paul teaches that we can learn much from their story.

True giving is not measured by the size of the gift but by the spirit of the giver. The Corinthian Christians experienced great joy as they provided money for the ministry of Paul. They grew in God's grace and were exceedingly blessed because they gave themselves to the Lord first and then gave of their resources to support the Lord's church.

The church practiced the mathematics of Jesus: poverty + joy = true wealth. The richness of serving God, giving to the kingdom ministries of the church, and experiencing the joy of Jesus were the rewards these awe-inspiring servants of God received.

Our challenge is to enter into the paradox of giving. Then we enjoy more blessing than we could imagine.

<p>Teach me, Jesus, to give of my resources with joy, thanksgiving, and grace. Help me to see where help is needed, and to give willingly and cheerfully for your sake. Amen.</p>

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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