2 Corinthians 8:5
And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us by the will of God.
I. FIRST, WE MUST GIVE OUR OWN SELVES. Does that mean that I am to say my prayers, read my Bible, come to Church, and do what is kind and good? Certainly. Yet you may do all this and your own self not be given. The giving of ourselves to God is, first, the present of a thoughtful mind. But, more, the giving of ourselves is the present of a loving heart. The Macedonians gave money and gave effort, but the essential point is that they "first, gave their own selves to the Lord." An earnest Christian says: "Nearly four years ago, I was to spend the day in a large city. Before starting I said to my dear invalid sister, now in glory, 'Can I buy anything for you, dear? I do want so much to bring you something from the city.' She interrupted the question, saying, with such a sweet, yearning look, 'Nothing, dear. Do not bring anything. I only want you. Come home as soon as you can.'" She goes on to say: "The tender words rang in my ears all the day, and oh, how often since her bright entrance within the gates have her touching words and loving look returned to my memory." Let us ask ourselves if this is not what our Saviour desires of us. Christ knows that if He gets any one's love He gets that one's self and service. If we give the heart it follows that we have made a present of ourself once for all. Is it not a shabby thing when giving a present to be thinking how much you will need to give and how much you may keep for yourself? Is it not even more shabby when you have once given to be seeking back what you have given? There is nothing of that when the gift really comes from love. The heart given, and once for all, without reserve, then there may follow all the active effort we desire to give.
II. THE REASON WHY WE SHOULD GIVE OURSELVES.
1. Because it is right. "We are not our own, we are bought with a price."
2. It is for our highest happiness. To be sure, there is renunciation in consecration, but there is also rich compensation.
3. For the world's good and happiness. The Macedonians first gave their own selves, then their liberality and good works abounded towards others. The world needs heart-enlisted Christians.
(The Preacher's Assistant.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.