Formations 10.16.2022: Giving for a Cause

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

In our household, I usually take care of the monthly bills and budget. Our regular payments include mortgage, vehicle, cell phone service, Internet, streaming services, water and sewage, and electricity. Other necessary payments include groceries, gas, vet and doctor bills, garbage service, medications, HOA dues, vehicle maintenance, clothing, and more. Most recently, we’ve paid a few college application and score-sending fees to get our daughter started on her next life chapter. A deposit will come due for her freshman year before too long. And of course, we have to pay for fun like our upcoming fall vacation.

List it all out is exhausting and makes me wonder how we manage to scrape by, especially with the current inflation and possible economic recession.

With all of these expenses—not to mention life’s unexpected emergencies like a broken sewer pipe or a flat tire—how could our family possibly have any money left to give for a cause?

And yet we do. We’ve made giving a priority. We have chosen several causes that are meaningful to us, and we donate to them on a monthly basis. They’re so much a part of our regular spending that they are like “blessing bills.” We have set up payments to these nonprofits so that the money comes out of our credit card account automatically. For us, these are nonnegotiable payments.

Many of us are so familiar with Jesus’ command to sell our possessions and give the money to the poor (Mt 19:21) that we misunderstand his intention. Jesus never intended for us to become destitute in order to help the poor. Paul helps explain this in today’s text:

For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. For I do not mean that there should be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may also supply your need, in order that there may be equality. As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.” (vv. 12-15)

My family’s giving isn’t perfect. There are certainly times when we look at the credit card bill and think, “If we stopped giving to _____________, we’d be able to pay off this debt.” We can get selfish about our money. But the truth is that somehow everything always works out. Just when I think we won’t have enough to cover what we owe and give to others, the funds become balanced and we make it through another month. We can absolutely offer “relief for others” without experiencing financial hardship ourselves. May we who have much strive not to have too much so that those who have little will never have too little.


• Think about your monthly expenses. If you don’t already give for a cause, can you set aside even a small amount to start doing so? Which causes would you choose?
• Why do you think Jesus talked so much about generosity? Can you think of passages in the Bible where he does this?
• What do you think Paul means by “eagerness” in verse 12? What does it mean to be eager to give to people in need?
• Why is it important to find equality and balance so that no one has too much and no one has too little? Do you think this will ever be possible in our world?
• What is one step you can take this week to make giving a priority?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.


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