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 Lord’s people.
This core value is around generosity, the initial thoughts for this was Deuteronomy 15:10 10 Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
and then were going to use 2 Corinthians 8 to expand on this, however we have made the main verse 2 Cor 8:3-4.
We chose the Deuteronomy scripture because it was about the sabbath year, this was an old testament law, whereby every 7th year the land was left to rest, they had to trust God to produce the food that they needed, the poor could eat freely from that food and poor debtors payment (or their int payments, scholars can’t agree) were cancelled. They were told to do so without a grudging heart. This was a year that would hurt the rich, and take immense faith, but benefit the poor, it was definitely a command that meant giving until it hurt. We liked it because it was about a resetting, an equalizing of the l field so to speak, a kingdom value of equality and looking out for each other, however they didn’t observe it, in fact the first time you see a good example of this was in the acts church, when they sold their possessions and pooled their resources, making sure there were no poor among them! So our back up verse has become our main verse!
So lets break this down into give and hurts
GIVE– we are a people who have been given to so freely, so abundantly, so without condition through the sacrifice of Jesus, who gave of Himself to save us. And so giving should be a natural response to that. Giving of our time, our energy, our passion, our love, and also our finances which we’ll touch on later.
Giving generously is all about the condition of our hearts.
HURTS – now many of us will think what has the Macedonian people pleading to give got to do with giving until it hurts? These people gave beyond their ability, they gave out of their poverty actually. Here’s where it hurts, in the flesh, our human nature, our rational thinking, whether it’s of time effort, love, patience whatever when it’s giving abundantly as Jesus gave it should hurt out flesh. It’s mirroring Jesus who gave himself, it hurt him physically, and emotionally, his soul or his flesh.
The cheerful giving the pleading to give, that fact that Jesus gave willingly, that’s a spirit stance. It’s the Holy Spirit within us prompting us to not sign up to the ways of this world, but to His ways. So it’s a sacrificial giving, and it will feel uncomfortable when we do it from a human perspective, but there will also be a joy in our spirit as we give of ourselves to others and to His work.
This is a giving lifestyle, a giving mentality, but not at the expense of our wellbeing, or our physical needs, if we are giving extravagantly, but in line with God’s promptings, this will be something we can rejoice in, and that won’t ruin us.
THE CODE OVERVIEW
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
Looking beyond ourselves, is in essence considering the needs of others both in the church family and in the wider community not just our own. It often looks like sacrifice, and putting into others without any expectation of return.
This value goes beyond Revive Church and into our day to day lives and those we encounter.
Within the church family this value promotes unity, Philippians 2 says about being like minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and mind, it goes on to say do nothing out of selfish ambition or vein conceit. This is about championing each other, not about position or ambition, its about cheering each other on, championing and encouraging those on the journey with us.
In a wider sense, this value promotes mission. This scripture calls us as the church to look outside of ourselves at Revive to those who are not yet here. It talks about Christ sacrificing himself through death on a cross, and calls us to have that attitude. We are called to sacrifice self to meet the needs of those in the wider community, to demonstrate the love of Christ by the way we treat those who don’t yet know Him.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
As Christians; what we are actually doing is working for the king. It is the Lord we are working for and serving. Out of our love, honour and respect for all that Jesus has done for us we are working in every sphere of our influence with our whole being for the Lord.
This value actually pushes us to work hard – not at salvation or trying to be a good Christian but being the best we can be, Ephesians 2 says that salvation is a free gift – there is nothing we can DO to earn it – but it also then goes onto say that through that salvation that Jesus bought for us that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
So He’s prepared good works for us to do and if He’s prepared those Good works then we should work hard at them. It really helps us at church, in school, college and at work that If you aren’t just working for your boss, or the company or for the teacher…..you are working for the King.
If we can work for the King first and foremost seeking first His kingdom, this scripture gives an amazing promise of inheritance. We don’t serve for the blessing though we serve because we love Jesus and want to see His kingdom advanced on this earth.