"Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do."1
I have read how, after a large gathering of Christian youth, a church staff member was counting the offering. Included with all the donations there was a teen-aged girl's picture. Had someone taken that picture from someone's wallet and thrown it in the offering as a practical joke? That's the kind of thing teenagers sometimes do. On the back of her own picture, however, a girl had written, "I have nothing to give but myself."2
Whether we have little or much to giveómonetary wiseóthe gift God wants us to give first of all is the gift of ourselves! As we do this may we, too, like the Macedonian believers, be filled with abundant joy, which will also overflow in rich generosity.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, for all that you have done for me in giving your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in my place to pay the penalty for all my sins so that I can be freely forgiven and therein receive your gift of eternal life, I freely give my life to you for faithful service. So help me God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NLT).