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Some of us are good at playing church but are bad at giving. Find out why that's inconsistent.

Paul reprimanded the church in Corinth for being good at playing church but being bad at giving. It’s a message for every wealthy Christian to hear.

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 ‘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. ‘

The Corinthians and Giving

“Excelling in the act of giving” is an idea that comes from 2 Corinthians 8. A great example of excellent giving came from the Christians in Macedonia, who despite great trial and poverty, were filled with joy and chose to share what little they had to help even needier Christians in Jerusalem.

[Related: Giving | Basic Practices for Growing Christians #8]

In 8:7, Paul encourages the Corinthians – who were not nearly as bad-off as the Macedonians – to follow the Macedonians’ good example and share from their wealth with the Christians in Jerusalem. The Corinthians had started out being generous (8:10-11), but by the time of 2 Corinthians, they were lax. They had a lot of good things going for them, but generosity wasn’t one of them.

[Related: Giving Based on God’s Grace]

An Exercise in Budgeting

Like the Corinthians, many of us can have a lot going for us while failing to prioritize giving to Christian churches (even our own churches!), parachurch ministries, and other Christian causes.

Write down from top to bottom your biggest monthly expenses. Wherever your giving falls on the list, bump it up just one spot on the list. Next quarter or next year, try bumping up your giving another spot. We should not give to our own detriment:

2 Corinthians 8:13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality.

We should give proportionately (8:11-12), and we should excel at it.

Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.
Talk About It
  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Have you ever known someone who “excelled in the act of giving?” Describe that person.
  4. Why were the Macedonians so generous in their giving? How should their example influence us today?
  5. How would you rate your giving? Why do you rate yourself this way?
  6. Where does giving fall on your list of monthly expenses? What would it replace if you bumped it up a notch?
  7. How willing are you to take the challenge of this topic seriously? Explain.
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.