December 19, 2013

Servants Give Anonymously

Matthew 6:3; 2 Corinthians 8:1–5

When Paul made his way through Europe, specifically the region of ancient Macedonia, he announced to the churches in that area the financial need of the church in Jerusalem. What adds to the significance of the whole episode is that Macedonia was already an economically depressed area. Macedonia was to Paul a lot like India might be to the U.S. It would be like encouraging the poorest people of Appalachia to respond to those who are hurting in the ghetto of Harlem. "You people on welfare . . . give to those people on welfare!" would be a strange appeal today.

But the most remarkable fact of all is this: They did! Those financially deprived Macedonian believers were so concerned over their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem who did not have sufficient money to make ends meet, they really gave. Look closer and see just how extensively they did it.

Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. (2 Corinthians 8:1–5)

What a tremendous section of Scripture! Those Christians demonstrated authentic servanthood in their giving. When we give as a servant gives, the same things are true in us.

I like that not one specific church is mentioned, simply "the churches of Macedonia." Not even one individual is highlighted. No statues of bronze were later erected in Jerusalem, no names of super saints chiseled in marble or recorded in some book for others to ooh and ahh over. A great proof of true servanthood is anonymity
(Matthew 6:3).

When we practice the art of unselfish living, we prefer to remain anonymous. In fact, most of the people I know who possess a servant's heart are greatly embarrassed when their names are put up in lights.

Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.