The letters to
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
In a subtle way Paul plays hardball with the Corinthians. They love spiritual gifts (see 1Cor 12-14) and knowledge so Paul plays to their desires and uses that to drive them to the grace of giving.
Were he writing to me, he might have written, ‘since you excel in everything –in family and parenting, in work and profession –excel also in the grace of giving.’ In effect, Paul says excel in giving as you excel in those things you do best and give your attention to!
Those things I excel in are the things I have worked hard to master. I have studied them, I have worked on them, I have learned them, even ‘mastered’ them and Paul says do the same with giving.
Some people excel in sports, tennis and golf come to mind. Some excel in music, playing, singing, performing and teaching. Where I live, some excel in boating. They master the way of the sea, in sail or motor boats. Whatever it is that you excel at, apply the same diligence and effort to your grace of giving.
How do I do this???
Giving takes a change of heart and Romans 12:1-2 tells me this comes by the renewing of my mind. I have to allow God, the Holy Spirit, into this part of my life to break my stinginess and open my heart to the needs of others. Then there is practice, I have to start giving. Like someone learning tennis, I have to practice my swing until it begins to be a natural reaction on the tennis court. Likewise, I have to give generously, whatever that is for me at the moment. Then as I grow in this area, I will do it with more and more effectiveness and power. And so generosity will well up in me and become much more ‘natural’ or automatic.
Giving and growing in the grace of giving is learned…. And God bids me to learn it so well it would be said of me that I excel in it.
Okay, Lord, let the adventure of exceling in the grace of giving begin… Holy Spirit, lead me. Reduce my selfishness and increase my desire to grace others with all that you have given me. I pray in Jesus’ name and for the sake of living the love He has given to me. Amen