by Charles R. Swindoll
A full year before the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, they had begun a project. No doubt they were filled with enthusiasm, the thrill of a fresh beginning. But with the passing of time, the newness had worn off. The spontaneous motivation to give had turned into a miserable marathon that dragged slowly on and on. So Paul urged them with a reminder of their commitment:
This is to your advantage, who were the first to begin a year ago not only to do this, but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. (2 Corinthians 8:10-11)
Paul said, in effect, "Get with it! You made a commitment to get involved, to give, and to help out—now stick with that commitment!"
Becoming a giving person sounds exciting. But it costs something. It demands change, and no significant change ever got started without motivation and zeal.
Want a vivid illustration? Dieting. Oh, just the word brings up painful memories! Especially when I add exercising and jogging. Who hasn't had the experience? We finally get sick and tired of our flab. Zippers start ripping out; buttons pop off; the car leans dangerously to one side when we get in; the scales we step on punch out little cards that say, "Only one person at a time, please."
Okay, so we decide to thin down. In the fresh enthusiasm of zeal, we buy $100 sneakers, a couple $85 jogging outfits; we join a local fitness center (another $350); and we blow the dust off that miserable "Count Those Calories" booklet we bought years ago. We just know we're going to peel off 30 pounds!
The very first day we start with a flash. We hit the road, running like we're on fire. We drop our intake to 700 calories a day. We choke down dry toast, cottage cheese, sliced tomatoes, and boiled eggs! We snack on stuff that tastes like canary mix, and we sip on bitter herb tea until we think we're going to gag. By the third day, we're so sore we can only trot a half a block . . . so we get up later. Then Thanksgiving brings too many temptations, so we fudge . . . and finally gorge. In less than a month, our blimp is back in the hangar. And when the urge to exercise comes over us, we just lie down quietly until the urge goes away.
Sticking with any commitment is costly. And I can assure you, becoming a servant who gives and gives and gives to others is no exception. By comparison, it will make dieting look like a piece of cake (no pun intended).
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.