HOW TO KNOW THE WILL OF GOD
"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."
is writing to the Church at
THEIR FIRST GIFT
Paul’s great surprise. They did not give as he hoped. But they gave way beyond his hope. This is the way all giving should be. It takes care of the amount you give and the joy of giving.
They first “gave themselves.” All this was unexpected by the apostles, who knew their great affliction and deep poverty, and therefore could not have hoped for such a collection from them.”
The money we give or any kind of labor for the Lord that is done must begin by first giving ourselves to the Lord.
Therefore, our first gift should be of ourselves to the Lord. When we do this, things begin to happen. When the Lord moves in with His Spirit, what we didn’t have to give suddenly becomes a greater gift than we could have ever imagined. I think of the little boy with the five loaves and two fishes. When you give what you have to the Lord, He can multiply it way beyond our imagination.
The Lord has given us a world wide commission. He would never give us a commission like this without providing the finances to do the job.
THEIR SECOND GIFT
Their second gift was to Paul and his missionary company.
This gift was not for Paul’s expenses but to relieve the poor saints at
Large sums of money was given to relieve our American
brothers and sisters and their families at the bombing of the
You can be sure that the money given Paul to carry for the Macedonian and Corinthian Christians got to where it was supposed to.
UNUSUAL CHARACTER OF THE SECOND GIFT
It was a gift given in the time of “a great trial of affliction.” Here is a group of people who needed help giving to those who needed help.
To carry this thought further:
This statement of giving is meant to be taken literally. The amount of their gifts is not mentioned. However, what is stated is that “out of their deep poverty” their gifts turned out to be out of “the riches of their liberality.”
We are told the secret in
1. The words “for to their power” means they gave what they had and did it joyfully.
2. The words “Yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves.” They gave more than they had money to give.
3. When you give beyond your power, you are giving more than you have. Could it be that when they gave themselves to the Lord, then gave themselves to Paul and his party, that God did with their gift what he did with the lad and his five loaves and two fish?
Therefore, we have a great lesson from the text:
We can know the will of God when we submit to His sovereignty and trust His Lordship at all times.