2 Corinthians 8:5 “And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.”
“Your bill has been taken care of” the waitress said. Chip and I were having breakfast with another couple when we heard those unexpected words. Although surprised, we immediately knew the responsible party. We had noticed a mutual acquaintance when we first arrived at the restaurant. We exchanged our hellos, and he left soon after. I didn’t think much about it…until we asked the waitress for our check. The man who picked up our tab left without any indication of his generous deed. But his simple gesture stopped me in my tracks. It felt like a glut of generosity had just landed on me.
It made me want to emulate his big heart. Something, I have to admit, I’m a little clumsy at. Like the time I tried to pick up the tab of some servicemen at a restaurant, only to discover they had already paid their bill. Going beyond what is expected can feel awkward at times. Even something as small as helping someone load groceries in the parking lot or letting a harried mom cut in line can make us feel uncomfortable. But a willingness to get out of our comfort zone is the first step.
The Corinthian church was certainly no stranger to “glut generosity.” Although they lived in extreme poverty under great pressure, Paul commended them for exceeding every expectation of giving. What was their secret? “They gave themselves first of all to the Lord.” Then they gave to others as God directed them. Not to get anything in return. Not to be looked upon as the world’s greatest philanthropists. They gave in response to what they first received…even “beyond their ability.”
Unpretentious generosity demonstrates outrageous love. Whether manifest in resources, time or talents, giving of ourselves reveals the heart of a generous Father God.
There are many things that remain out of my reach. But living a life of glut generosity isn’t one of them. How about you? How about if we commit ourselves to flooding the world with glimpses of what a generous God looks like. It may seem awkward at first, but I have a feeling all it takes is a little bit of practice.