Oh, it's fine. I'm a homeschooler so half the time I don't know what day it is anyway. These past few days have been really hectic for me. Between a karate tourney Saturday, to spending about half the day preaching at two churches Sunday, to going across the county to buy my brother a drum set then practically sleeping through the karate class Monday, to going to my first piano lesson in weeks yesterday, I'm pretty much a zombie. Thank GOD for coffee.
Now to business . . .
3 But I am sending these brothers to be sure you really are ready, as I have been telling them, and that your money is all collected. I don’t want to be wrong in my boasting about you. 4 We would be embarrassed—not to mention your own embarrassment—if some Macedonian believers came with me and found that you weren’t ready after all I had told them!
This reminds me of those many times when my parents have made me clean my room. I spend a bunch of time on it, then I get distracted. So when my parents come up, or my friends get there, they find me sitting there reading or playing the guitar or taping danger tape in random places or writing something . . . the list can go on forever. It's not the fact that I haven't been doing it, it's the fact that they caught me off-guard. If they had warned me that they'd be coming up a few minutes earlier, I would've gotten back on track.
5 So I thought I should send these brothers ahead of me to make sure the gift you promised is ready. But I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly.
A gift given grudgingly isn't a gift at all, really. It's not from the heart. It's what's from the heart that counts.
7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
Peer pressure is always bad. I went to my friend's youth group a few weeks ago and their pastor mentioned how some people become "Christians" just because it's a powerful moment. That's what first happened to me, but since seeing you guys, I've begun living it.
That had barely anything to do with it . . . but it's true. Also, something that this doesn't actually say is that we shouldn't compete in how much we give. You know? I mean, people seem to think they're holier when they give more. But then those same people turn around and criticize the people who can't give as much.
8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”[d]
I know I've mentioned this before, but a family from my sister church recently lost everything in a fire. The first time I went to a service at my sister church in four years was this past Sunday. In addition to me preaching, I also had to present something for the 30 hour famine with our youth group. After the service, the mother of the family came up to my brother and me and said she was going to donate to us. Let me repeat this: THEY. LOST. EVERYTHING. But she's still giving. All the extra clothes donated to them are being given elsewhere. That is DEFINITELY a family of cheerful givers who's deeds will always be remembered.