But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:7-12
I have this posted by my kitchen sink. However, over the months it has faded into decoration, and it caught my eye, and heart, differently today than it has in the past.
Others are better at giving than me. The "compare your earnestness with others" part really caught me, because I've got some great people to challenge me. And what's the basis of all that earnestness ? That profound realization and understanding that Christ, who had everything, gave it up in order to see me experience what He had.
Who does that these days? Do we even comprehend that?
If I've enjoyed that, ( which is an understatement.....) then I am called to ask myself this question:
How badly do I want others to experience that dumbfounded unworthiness and deep joy too?
Am I willing to give up what I have so someone else can have it?
The context is in giving... but can be applied in so many ways, as Paul was so good at.
I have knowledge... do I give it up in order for someone to be smarter?
I have material needs met... would I give it up to enjoy watching someone else not struggle for a time?
I have freedom... would I put it aside to allow someone who's never tasted freedom before to experience it?
I don't know that I've grown up and out of me enough yet. There's a me that still wants to see me happy before others, most of the time. Oh, not consciously... but honestly the day to day living reveals much more about the heart that the conscious thought.
BUT..... I'm getting there, more and more, with glimpses, through His Spirit; finding out what its like to be so enraptured with Him that the joy of seeing others delight in Him truly outweighs the satisfaction of any self indulgences I would provide myself.
Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it....