By Matt Capps
Once I received a phone call from a gentleman who had become a mentor of sorts to me. The call was a very short yet poignant spiritual challenge. He asked, “When was the last time you gave to something or served someone out of the overflow of your joy in Christ?” He continued, “It can be a rather fun exercise of sacrificial generosity. Matt, give in response to God’s grace, and let the joy ensue!”
I found it hard to stop smiling that day as I considered the possibilities of his challenge. His words “out of the overflow of joy in Christ” moved me to reflect on the riches of the gospel in my own heart.
It is easy to imagine the joy and excitement that moved through the Israelite camp as Moses assembled the people and called them to prepare to build the temple, a meeting place with God. The description of Israel’s response is energizing: “Everyone whose heart was moved and whose spirit prompted him came and brought an offering to the LORD” (Exodus 35:21). In fact, their willingness to give is mentioned over and over in Exodus 35, and their motivation is contagious, even today.
It makes me wonder if, in some sense, we are more blessed than the Old Testament saints. As believers, has God not provided for us beyond anything we can ask or imagine in Jesus Christ (See Ephesians 3:20)?
Israel’s motivation for giving generously toward the building of the temple was rooted in their knowledge and experience of the Lord. They remembered His faithful presence among them as they journeyed out of Egypt and into the promised land.
At this point in redemptive history, we do not have to build a temple for God to dwell among us. Jesus Christ came to do just that; He is Immanuel, “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23). Even more, Jesus came and laid down His life so that you and I could inherit all the eternal riches included in His eternal kingdom.
If you want to be motivated to give generously, consider the eternal treasure of all that is ours in Christ. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). We have received all we truly need in Christ, therefore, let us give generously in response to the overflow of God’s grace.
May God’s Spirit stir our hearts to give sacrificially. May our giving and serving flow out of our joy in Christ. Let the joy of generosity ensue!