2 Corinthians 8:1-9 (NIV)

1 And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5 And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will. 6 So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 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. 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 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.

Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

DEVOTION -Kathy K. Norman

During a mission trip to Ecuador, I visited a Quichua Indian church located high in the windswept Andes Mountains.  The pastor and his wife were proudly showing our volunteer team their church building when we saw a huge pile of yellow corn spilling out of gunnysacks in the corner of one room.  I asked if there was any special significance to the mound of corn.  They explained that in their agricultural community the believers always brought a tenth of whatever crop they harvested to the church as an offering to the Lord.  The congregation used this food to share with those in their village who did not have enough to eat or to provide a meal on special days for their community as a testimony to God’s love and provision in their lives.

I was amazed and moved at this level of generosity, gratitude, and obedience.  What could happen in our own churches if we chose to give back to the Lord literally a tenth of all we have?  What needs could we meet with these resources?

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What can I give to help people who are hungry in my community?

PRAYER: Dear God, teach us to recognize that all we have comes from you.  Help us give back to you and to others from hearts overflowing with gratitude.  Amen.