Does Your Giving Pass the Test? (2 Corinthians 8:8-9)
2 Corinthians 8:8-9, “I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (NKJV).
How do we know Jesus loves us? The Apostle Paul explains the depth of Christ’s love by revealing the measure of His sacrificial gift to mankind. He writes, “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). There is no doubt about Jesus and His love because He stepped down from a throne to carry a cross. Indeed, other passages speak of how Jesus left the bounty and perfection of heaven to come to this sin-cursed earth for our sakes (Philippians 2:4-8; cp. Matthew 20:27-28).
Likewise, how is it others can know we sincerely love them? Paul writes, “...I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.” The sacrifice accompanying a gift indicates the genuineness of our love. Every time we have an opportunity to sacrifice for others’ good it is a divine test. If we love, we will sacrifice. If love is lacking, the sacrifice will be weak too. So, the boy who works overtime for months so he can save up enough money to buy an engagement ring for a girl must really love her. The mom who comes home after a hard day’s work and exhaustedly cooks, cleans, and cares for her children must truly love her family. Likewise, the Christian who is willing to put aside their riches for the benefit of others in need must truly love their fellow brethren.
This generosity test applies to various areas of our Christian walk. It takes love of the gospel for preachers to put aside more monetarily beneficial careers for the sake of kingdom work. It takes love for the flock for spiritual shepherds to sacrifice their time, travel, and talents for the good of the sheep. It takes love for the church for members to sacrifice their free time, their weekends, and their energy to volunteer to help in the many areas where they might be suited and needed. Likewise, it takes love to lay aside some of our money and income as a financial gift for others and for the church and its work. A lack of giving is not a major concern because of the shortage it may bring to fund the church’s work. It is a greater concern because an unwillingness to give shows a lack of love and creates questions about the integrity and sincerity of our faith.
The love of Jesus is real and cannot be questioned because of His incomparable sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice to be a benefit to your spiritual family? No one questions the love behind a gift when it is accompanied by legitimate sacrifice. For this reason, Jesus is our example in real giving. Give to the degree Jesus gave and you will exhibit a love like few others. Does your giving pass the test?
Joshua R Welch