Ed Dobson, my former pastor, often said that he disliked preaching about financial giving to the church. He said his previous job required fundraising, so he didn’t like putting any unnecessary pressure on people. But when he was teaching through 2 Corinthians, and he came to chapters 8 and 9, he couldn’t avoid the topic of giving. What I remember most about his sermon was the illustration he used. He placed an offering plate on the floor, stepped into it, and stood there as he talked about the importance of giving our whole selves to the Lord, not just our wallets.

Those two chapters in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians give us a number of attitudes and actions that we are to display in our giving to the Lord:

• Give yourself to the Lord first (8:5).

• Give, remembering the example of the Lord Jesus (8:9).

• Give according to your means (8:11-12).

• Give enthusiastically because of God’s love (9:2).

• Give generously, not grudgingly or because of outside pressure (9:5-7).

Next time the offering plate comes around at church, imagine yourself stepping into it. It will help you to excel in the grace of giving (8:7).