One of the most famous biblical passages cited to encourage oneself and others to give is the text about the giving practices of the Macedonians and the praises they received from the apostle Paul. Their generosity is well described in these words: “That in a great trial of affliction,

the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality” (2 Corinthians 8:2, NKJV). How was such lavish giving possible during a time of scarcity and when one’s resources are limited? They stand as examples of impossible givers! As the apostle Paul introduces the Macedonians as an example of giving, he provides a clear answer to the question “How was this possible?”

The capacity and willingness of the Macedonians to give was a “grace of God,” literally a gift from God. Paul employs the words charis, translated “grace,” no less than six times to speak about the privilege of participating in the collection or how God enables the believers to give (2 Corinthians 8:1, 6, 7, 9; 9:8, 14). The generosity of the Macedonian was activated neither from the inside nor from the outside but from His side. Ellen White confirms this principle: The power to give comes from the One who invites us to give. Once the believer consecrates himself or herself to God, the propensity to give emerges naturally (2 Corinthians 8:5). They were transformed into the image of the Divine Giver. As God’s people, we have received an assignment similar to the one given to the ravens. We read in Malachi 3:10: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house” (NKJV). We are called to bring food to the house of God, not bread and meat but “all the tithes.” This passage’s context helps us understand that God is referring to the ten percent of our income and offerings.

The Bible also highlights the regularity with which believers must fulfill their assignment of bringing food. We read in Deuteronomy 16:17, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you” (NKJV). This text does not refer to the ten percent tithe but to offerings. No one is asked to give more than what one has received or what one’s beak or bill could carry. However, this text states a common principle that applies to all: “According to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” As you are blessed, you give and give in proportion to what you have received.

It is often beyond human expectations, requiring some additional strength, which we seem not to have. God can turn each of us into impossible givers, irrespective of our biological and social inclinations, by renewing our minds. Believers should not be discouraged by the gap between their natural selves and God’s expectations in all areas, including giving.

You can become an impossible giver. He transforms anyone who “gave themselves first of all to the Lord" into channels to bring food to His house. Furthermore, He makes our giving regular and systematic, as we are blessed, not only prompted by events or our good mood. Finally, He grows us into partners in His final mission. Let us pray daily for the grace of giving.

-Adapted article, Originally by Pastor Aniel Barbe, Associate Director, Stewardship Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists