The Macedonian church in 1 Corinthians 8 was a little wacky by today’s standards. Though extremely poor and afflicted by severe trials, they pleaded with Paul for the opportunity to give generously to God’s work. Without prompting, they chose to give what they were able—and even more. And their giving overflowed with joy.
But why? I think verse 5 is a crucial part of the story. Here Paul tells us that these poor, afflicted, joyful givers gave not just their money, but themselves. They gave themselves. First to God, and then to God’s work.
Just this week, I was telling a friend about a particular experience and I described being “emotionally spent.” If we’re honest, I think a lot of us feel this way a lot of the time. The question, though, is on what have we spent ourselves?
How have we spent the best of our time, our energy, our talents and our passion? Have we spent ourselves on behalf of the hungry and oppressed (Isaiah 58:10)? Are we exhausted because we’ve been speaking hope to the brokenhearted, proclaiming freedom, comforting those who mourn and providing for the grieving (Isaiah 61:1-3)? Have we given ourselves first to God and then to God’s work?
We live in a society where everything seems urgent. People and tasks and electronic devices demand our attention at all hours of the day and night. There are more opportunities than ever to spend ourselves in ways that don’t really matter.
I believe that Jesus cares about how I spend my money. I believe that he also cares about how I spend my life.
Today, before I head into the rush and noise of another week, I am choosing to give myself. I am embracing the challenge to be spent on things that matter, on things that delight the heart of my Father.