This sounds like high praise coming from the Apostle Paul! He seems very impressed by their generous giving. "They gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability...."
I guess that IS impressive when you give more than you are able?
How does someone give more than they are able?
To answer that question is to understand Faith-Promise giving.
What is Faith-Promise giving?
Simply, it is making a promise to give an amount of money you expect to receive based on your faith in God's provision.
Take for example, the "FLOW H2O". You or your spouse and you have been praying for God to give you and amount you should trust Him to provide by the end of April 2014. After that period of prayer you agree with God and each other to promise that amount. Maybe you have part of that amount or most of that amount but you don't have all of it. So, you write that agreed upon amount on the card and sign your name in promise to give "beyond your ability".
Since your pledge is a promise made to your local church in the sight of God, you take it very seriously and begin earnestly praying for God to provide the difference between what you have and what you promised!
You first show your faith by giving what you already have. And then you continue to pray and watch for how He will provide.
Let's say a couple of weeks pass and unexpectedly you get a refund check on your electric bill and it is half of what you need to fulfill your pledge! You are excited and begin praising the Lord! Now your faith is strengthened and you continue to pray with even more expectancy. You and your spouse cannot wait to see how God will provide the rest of the promise!
That's how you are able to give "beyond your ability". It is a scenario I have seen unfold dozens of times over the years!
Faith-Promise is the difference between being a pipeline or being a pail. The pail may hold a gallon of water but once it is poured out it is gone - empty. However, a pipeline is open on both ends with one end attached to the source of supply and the other end attached to the need.The pipeline is simply a conduit connecting the supply with the need. Making a Faith-Promise is the commitment to be a pipeline and not a bucket.
For FredWes to meet our goal of raising $8,500 to allow World Hope to drill a life-giving well in a remote African village we will need more pipelines than pails!
Next Sunday when we receive the pledge cards, will you be a pail or a pipeline?