Posted by danong2013

Dearly beloved,

After sharing the wonderful testimony of the generous spirit of giving by the churches in Macedonia, the apostle Paul encou-raged the believers in the church at Corinth, “But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace (of giving) also” (2 Cor. 8:7).

The word translated “abound” in this verse has the idea of “be outstanding, be prominent or excel.” Apparently, the believers in the church at Corinth—while excelling in the grace-gifts of faith, speech, knowledge, zealousness and love for the apos-tolic team—had fallen behind in the grace-gift of giving. Hence, the apostle Paul felt fitting to urge them to also excel in this grace. Can we excel in the grace-gift of giving?

I came across a story about excellent giving in the African nation of Uganda. One day, a village church there was con-ducting a Thanksgiving Service. Many believers brought with them the produce of the land to present to the Lord as their offering of thanks for His grace and blessings.

However, a 12 year-old girl was feeling deeply sad. She wanted to give to the Lord but she couldn’t because she was extremely poor. When everyone left after the service, the little girl remained there. The pastor mistook that the girl wanted something and gave her some ground-nuts offered by the worshippers, but she declined. Then she went to a house in the neighbourhood and sold herself as a slave to them. She brought the $20.00 to the pastor as her offering. Astonished, the pastor said, “Little girl, did you steal this to give to the Lord? Return it to the owner!” “I don’t have anything to offer to the Lord,” the little girl replied, “but by selling myself as a slave, I can now offer to the Lord.”

While we don’t have to go that extent like the little in Uganda to give to the Lord, we can excel in developing the grace-gift of giving to the Lord.

We’ve witnessed from the testimony of the churches at Mace-donia that adverse circumstances—great trial of affliction and abject poverty—needn’t have to be impediments in excelling in the grace of giving. The apostle Paul testified for them “that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality (gene-rosity)” (v.2).

Like the believers in the Macedonian churches and the little girl in Uganda, we can excel in the grace-gift of giving.

Passionately,

Pastor Peter

Generous spirit of giving can and must be cultivated.

 

亲爱的弟兄姐妹:

在分享众教会丰厚圣灵恩典的见证,使徒鼓励在哥林多教会的信徒:“你们既然在信心、口才、知识、热心和待我们的爱心上,都格外显出满足来,就当在这慈惠的事上,也格外显出满足来。”(哥林多后书 8:7)

在这一节当中被翻译成“满足”的字在原文中有“突出,显著,优越”的意思。明显地,在哥林多的信徒,虽然他们在信心、口才、知识、热心和对传道人员的爱心上显出丰厚的恩典,却在慈惠(奉献)的恩典上落后了。所以,使徒就觉得很适合去鼓励他们在这方面也显出恩典。那我们能够把我们慈惠的恩典突显出来吗?

我听过一个在非洲干达关于奉献的故事。有一天,一个村落里的教会举行着一个感恩崇拜聚会。很多信徒带着他们土地的产物献给神,为要感谢神的恩典与祝福。

但是,有一个十二岁的女孩觉得非常的沮丧。她希望可以向神奉献,但她却不能够,因为她非常的贫穷。当崇拜过后,每个人都离开了,她却留在那边。牧师误以为她想拿点什么东西,就拿了些参与敬拜的人带来的花生,给那位女孩,但她却拒绝。之后她去了附近的一家房子,把自己卖给那家庭作奴仆。之后她把那二十块给牧师作为奉献。牧师吃了一惊,说:“小女孩,你把这个偷来给神吗?把它还给它的主人!”“我没有东西奉献给主,”那女孩回答:“只可以把自己卖为奴仆,现在就可以奉献给神了。”

虽然我们不需要像那位干达的小女生那样奉献,我们却可以在对神奉献的恩典取得优越。

我们能看见在马其顿教会的见证,逆境本身,就是受大试炼和在极穷之间,并不代表是学会慈惠的恩典的障碍。使徒为他们作证:“就是他们在患难中受大试炼的时候,仍有满足的快乐,在极穷之间,还格外显出他们乐捐的厚恩。”(哥林多后书 8:2)

就像在教会和在干达的女孩一样,我们是可以奉献的恩典上面取得优越。

热切地,

庄彼得牧师

丰盛奉献的精神是可以和必要培的。