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Monday, August 13, 2007

"Giving Our Way to Prosperity" (Lesson Four)

The example of the Macedonians, as recorded in Second Corinthians 8:1-5, is one that we should follow daily. Found in that context are these words, which form the basis for the fourth lesson: "And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God."

Lesson four is called "First Give Yourself," and has this purpose: "To impress upon the mind of every contributor that the gift without the giver is bare" (21).

The idea behind this lesson may seem basic, but it is one that deals with a part of man that must be correct in all avenues of worship: his/her attitude. We need to have joy when we give, and we need to be willing to give our very lives to and for God's service.

In this brief lesson, brother Black gives two reasons why those at Macedonia were liberal in their giving:
  1. They first gave themselves to the Lord. Black comments, "This is the key to the problem. When individuals first give themselves to God, it is not difficult to get them to be liberal givers" (22).
  2. They had been truly converted. "In all probability there are more people in the church who need converting on the subject of giving, than any other subject. When you hear someone complaining or offering objections to class study on the subject of the subject of stewardship, you may put it down he is not converted and this is why we must continue to study the subject" (23).

Other sections deal with the Macedonian example by teaching us that they "made a complete surrender to Christ" (23-24) and they "had strong faith" (24-25).

Finally in this lesson, brother Black points out that those at Macedonia did not have much; rather, they were poor. There are some Christians today who do not have much in the way of this world's goods, but that does not excuse them from giving liberally to the Lord. The Macedonian example serves as a great marker for us all, rich or poor.