“1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. 6So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
10And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have” 2 Corinthians 8:1-12
God has been dealing me with this for years now. *sigh* and yeah it’s tough! Writing about this is already painful for me. But I guess that’s the point, you need to feel the pain in order for you to really value it. I always ask myself, “How can you truly say that you are GIVING? Is it possible that one can show the act of giving but doesn’t truly give at all? And how can you say that you’ve given enough?”
To answer those questions, I decided to look back on how God moved in my life for the past years.
2008 – I had my first job as a Product manager for a small advertising company. I stayed for 8 months but the pressure,stress and unfair treatment made me realize that it wasnt worth it. My salary was not enough to sustain me and even help my family. I remember always feeling bad because I wasnt giving to God the tithes I was supposed to give. I only earned a whopping 5k for the whole 8 months of my employment. I also found out that the company did not pay for my taxes,sss, healthcare etc. , so where did they put all the money they deducted from my supposed to be salary? that I don’t know. So this made my first job (ever) very traumatic. I prayed and asked God why He let me experience all this and why He let me give up my dream of having a successful career in the industry. He just answered me with this verse: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him”- romans8:28
I remember exactly what my prayer to Him was: “Lord, I know you have greater plans for me. I will quit this job. I will not worry because I know you will replace it with something better. If having a job will only take away my time for you then don’t give it nalang. I want to work for you alone. I want to glorify you with what I have.”
So, weeks before I left the company, Rj and I were thinking a lot (as in a lot!) about the days to come. What’s our next step? Are we going to stay unemployed for the rest of our lives? Or are we going to take risks and start our own business? He told me to just wait and let God do His thing. =) So I did.
One day, as I was sharing to Rj all this cool stuff I learned about E-commerce, SEO (search engine optimization) and the possibility of making it big in the WEB industry,and then bulb of a bright IDEA suddenly appeared! He (jokingly) proposed why not I make a website about all my ukay finds (since he was overwhelmed by the quantity inside my cabinet). hehe Since I already know how to market/and sell a website, why not give it a try and get as many readers as I could. He also (jokingly) added, that maybe I could also sell some of the treasures online. At first I was really hesitant and just gave him a big “nyek, okay ka lang?sino naman bibili nun?” But I still gave it a shot.
And what do you know, we never thought that this was it! The thing that we’ve been praying for! Our Online Ukay Business was born and it totally changed our lives. Before I totally quit my job, Rj and I were already earning twice/thrice my salary. Grace! Grace indeed! Now, we are able to save for our future and extend our help to others as well. =)
So why am I sharing you all this?
1. GIVING is MOTIVATED by GRACE.
I want to show you that it’s all about GRACE. We live because our God is gracious enough to sustain us. What we have or possess is not ours but God’s. So, if God is gracious enough to give us all these, why can’t we be gracious to bless others as well? Paul started his letter in 2 corinthians 8 by acknowledging the Grace of God to the Macedonians that helped them overcome all the trials.
Do you agree that we cannot give what we do not have? But since God first gave us, there’s no reason why we should not give anything back. We give because He first gave us.
If we find it hard to be gracious to others that means that you do not value the “GRACE” that God gave you.
2. GIVING is a PRIVILEGE. v. 2-5
The Macedonians despite all the trials and scarcity they experienced, were able to give and share what they have to others even if they almost had nothing. I personally think that GIVING is of no value if you don’t give sacrificially. You should give until it hurts.
“1As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.[a]3“I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”- Luke 21: 1-4
“It is more blessed to give than to receive. ” Acts 20:35b
Jesus’ words challenge our basic assumptions. What does it mean to be blessed? According to Jesus, blessing others is what it means to be blessed oneself. It is “more blessed to give than to receive” because blessing others is what it means to be blessed in the first place.
I learned that the greatest blessing is to be a blessing to others. Doesn’t it feel good to share what God has graciously given to you? It’s not yours anyway. =) We should always be thankful for His grace that whenever we give, we give with a joyful heart. =)
3. GIVING is an ACT OF WORSHIP.
Do you ever wonder what this phrase really means, “To God be the glory.”?
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” – Colossians 3:17
“Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever” – 1 Peter 4:11
Giving and blessing others is a powerful testimony of God’s grace and love. Sometimes the most effective way in sharing the gospel is through our lifestyle. If we continue to share our blessings, we are opening the doors of those people who hardened their hearts from God. =)
Let me close this entry with this, “Give Until There’s Nothing Left” by Relient K
May God bless you all so that you may bless others more! =)