For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And 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.
2 Corinthians 8:3-5
This is one of the most miraculous verses in the Bible. How can you ever give beyond your ability? I don’t know, but that’s Paul’s testimony of what they did.
I believe that the key to all this is found in verse 5. Paul said that they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.
Your first calling is not to a church or a ministry. It’s to God Himself.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t commit yourself to a church. What I am saying is that committing yourself to a church without first giving yourself to God is counter-productive.
These Macedonian believers understood the principle of success. You need to present yourself as a gift to God. That means we give up all personal rights over to His will. Paul understood what this meant.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58
The context of this verse is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul goes into great detail explaining the importance of His rising from the grave.
Paul concludes this section by talking about our victory in Christ. The resurrection is the foundation for our victory in this life. We know that the victory is ours in Christ, no matter what the situation may look like right at the present moment.
So in this passage, Paul uses the word, therefore. It’s because we know that Christ is victorious – past, present, and future – that we can give ourselves fully to God. We already know the outcome, so we can give ourselves willingly.
The problem is, that willingly and fully are two very different things. I can willingly serve God with only part of my life, time, and resources. The real victory comes when I willingly give all to Christ.
Please understand that this has nothing to do with your abilities. It has everything to do with your willingness to fully commit your life to God. That’s the lesson the Macedonian churches had learned.
It’s only when you first give yourself to God, that you can accomplish something beyond your ability. That’s when people notice that it’s God working in you. Only then will God get the glory from your life, and people will be attracted to the Gospel.
Question: How fully committed is your life to God?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi