The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth exhorting them to “excel in the grace of giving” (2 Cor 8:7). He set the example of the churches in Macedonia, who…
- out of the most severe trial
- their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty
- welled up in rich generosity
- they gave as much as they were able
- even beyond their ability
- they urgently pleaded for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints
- they gave themselves first to the Lord
Talk about extravagant giving! They were extremely poor but pleaded to have the privilege of sharing with others that were in the same plight.
There have been scientific studies done that prove the positive effect giving to others has on our overall well-being. It’s good for us to give.
My latest personal Bible study has been on all the “gifts” mentioned in the Bible. In the Old Testament I’ve found some very extravagant gifts.
When Abraham sent his trusted servant, the chief of his household, to bring a wife for his son from the country of his relatives, the servant “took ten of his master’s camels and left, taking with him all kinds of good things from his master.” (Read the complete story in Genesis 24.)
Rebekah, the future bride, was given
- a gold nose ring
- two gold bracelets
- gold and silver jewelry
- articles of clothing
Her brother and her mother also received costly gifts.
Years later, when Jacob wanted to “make up” with his brothers Esau, whom he had cheated to get his father’s blessing, this is the gift he sent him (Genesis 32:13-15):
- 200 female goats
- 20 goats
- 200 ewes
- 20 rams
- 30 female camels with their young
- 40 cows
- 10 bulls
- 20 female donkeys
- 10 male donkeys
If this was Jacob’s gift, how big must all his riches have been? Some twenty odd years earlier he had set out with nothing!
Esau was not interested in the gift, he was just happy to have his brother back!
Close to the end of Jacob’s life, when he thought his son Joseph to be dead but learned he was a great man in Egypt, his beloved son sent him gifts and gave gifts to his brothers. (Genesis 45:21-23)
- Carts and provisions for the journey to Egypt
- New clothing to each one
- To Benjamin 300 shekels of silver and 5 sets of clothes
- 10 donkeys loaded with the best of Egypt
- 10 female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions
I have a list of other interesting gifts, so I’ll continue expanding on the subject.
Not many of us can give such extravagant gifts as the ones mentioned above. But we can do as the churches in Macedonia did. Their “extravagant” gift consisted of themselves.
Let’s give ourselves first of all to Jesus and then to others.
It is better to give than to receive.