You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 2 Corinthians 9:11-13 (NIV)
I have been gathering and making things for our Sunday School class auction. Tonight, I prepared mason jars filled with the ingredients for cookies. Layering the flour, sugars, chips and oats in the glass jars and then, decorating them with Christmas fabric and ribbon, makes a very festive gift. My sister in law creates these every year to give to teachers, postal workers, hairdressers, and other people that you like bless at the holiday season. I thought that a dozen of them packaged together might make a good auction item. Sort of instant Christmas gifts to keep on hand for last minute giving for the person who doesn’t have the inclination or time to be crafty. The problem in making them is that I am a sloppy cook. I rarely measure anything and when I do, I am not always accurate. When people ask me for a recipe, I have to come home, cook and write down what I put into it. Otherwise, I have to say, a handful of this or a pinch of that and most people don’t have the patience for such a description. It dawned on me about halfway through filling the jars that I ought to be more careful with my amounts. After all, someone else would be making the cookies and they might care if the consistency and flavors were correct. I tried to do better, but when I was done, there was either too much room left in the jar or not enough for the last layer, butterscotch chips. In most cases, my jars were overflowing with ingredients. I ended up pressing them down very hard in order to replace the lids. I hope I did not squash the chips too much. While it may not have been best that my jars were overflowing, if my life overflows with good things, that is another story. A friend called me today, praising God that her daughter told her that she saw a difference in her mom’s life and wanted to know what had caused it. This mother was able to witness to her daughter who is currently seeking peace and love in all the wrong places. My friend’s life overflows with God’s love and grace in ways that are evident to everyone who encounters her. In these verses, Paul tells us that obedience, service, thanksgiving, and generosity must accompany our verbal confession of the gospel of Christ. When this happens, others will notice our actions and be drawn to our words as well. While we think most often of generosity in finances, it can also be our time, talents, and belongings. While that is what our auction is all about blessing others through our service and gifts, it is a lifestyle that we should live all year round. Some might say, “Put your money where your mouth is.” I think it should be, “Put your actions where your mouth is.” People are watching what we do to see if our walk matches our talk.