Achieving excellence in everything is man's greatest struggle in life. We like to excel in everything we do—in academics, knowledge, skills, jobs, finances, possessions, business, etc. There is nothing wrong in excelling in these areas of life.

In 2 Corinthians 8:7-15, Paul commends the church for their “faith, speech, knowledge, complete earnestness, and love” (v-7a). But he says, “SEE (v-7b) that you also EXCEL in the grace of GIVING.”  We seldom think of excelling in the area of giving. Giving is one of the most important characteristics of a believer. When Christians learn to give, they learn to share in one of the greatest acts of God. Because God gives, we learn giving from God Himself.

Paul calls it the “Grace of Giving.” The ability to give does not generate from human nature, but is granted to us as grace from God. Those who give do it by God’s grace.

The question most commonly raised is: “Why do we need to give?”

Why do we give?

We give because of multiple reasons: we see the needy, poor, hungry, less privileged around us. Some give out of religious obligation, to impress others or to gain fame. Some even give out of guilt.

When it comes to giving to God, people still have mixed motives. Some people say we give because the church needs it, pastors need to be paid, there are needs in the church, etc.

We need to reevaluate our thinking by asking ourselves seriously:  

Who is in need?

We come to church not because God is in need of us but first of all because we need Him. Our very existence is dependent on Him. Without Him we cannot even take our next breath. As humans we needed salvation from eternal death, so He sent the Savior to this world for us. As Christians we worship Him because we need to grow in our knowledge and experience of our Master. The depths of our souls long for His presence more and more. We bow before Him to pray for healing, provisions, protection, safety, guidance, mercy, etc. If we see the reality; we are in need.

Giving is Worship

We enjoy the privilege of worshiping and honoring God through our giving. Worship simply means to acknowledge who God is. We praise God for what He has done for us, and we worship God for who He is. The realization of His very being compels man to worship Him.

When we honor and worship Him by our giving He pours out His blessings upon us, But this does not mean that we buy the blessings of God. We don’t give as a favor, but we give back to Him out of what we have received; it is an acknowledgment of his bountiful blessings to us.

What do we need to give?

Finances, as thanksgiving; surely the Bible teaches us about material giving. In the Old Testament times people gave the first fruits of their harvest as thanksgiving to the Lord.

The Bible also teaches that we need to give ourselves as living sacrifices for the worship of God. Paul wrote, “… Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Rom 12:1)

Give till it hurts (Sacrificial Giving)

The poor widow gave only two coins, but that was all she had. She gave all (Mark 12:42–43).  Giving little out of plenty is easy because it does not hurt, but to give all that we have is difficult because it hurts. It does not hurt if we give something which is extra, or something we can manage without, but it hurts when we give something for which we are in crucial need.

We can learn from human example, especially in the Asian context: A poor mother gives to her children at the expense of her own hunger, needs, comfort, and convenience. She gives even if it hurts her own self.

When God saw the desperate need of sinful humanity, He could not help but to give, and He gave His own Son, even though it hurt.

Excel in Giving
Paul says, “Excel in the grace of giving” (v-7b). Excellence in giving demonstrates the sincerity of our love (v-8b). If we love we will give.

What does excel mean? Please DEFINE it for yourself, what does it mean to you?  

In giving the most important thing is not the quantity, but the attitude.

How we give matters the most, our heart’s attitude is very important. In Genesis 4, Cain and Abel both gave, but God was looking at their attitude. “…For man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Spurgeon said, “Give because you love to give — as the flower pours forth its perfume.”

May God help us all to remember that God gives and may it be an encouragement for us to excel in giving!  Amen.

Rev. Earnest Nadeem    

I Shall Not Pass Again This Way

The bread that bringeth strength I want to give;

The water pure that bids the thirsty live.

I want to help the fainting, day by day.

I’m sure I shall not pass again this way.

I want to give the oil of joy for tears,

The faith to conquer crowding doubts and fears,

Beauty for ashes may I give always.

I’m sure I shall not pass again this way.

I want to give good measure running o’er,

And into angry hearts I want to pour

The answer soft that turneth wrath away.

I’m sure I shall not pass again this way.

I want to give to others hope and faith;

I want to do all that the Master saith;

I want to do aright from day to day.

I’m sure I shall not pass again this way.