Are You a Thermostat or a Thermometer?

The 260 Journey
The 260 Journey
Are You a Thermostat or a Thermometer?

Day 158

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 9

Some people are thermostats and some are thermometers. Thermometers just register the temperature of the room, while the thermostat controls the temperature of the room. This is not just for hot and cold but for hot and cold attitudes. The people who are thermostats try to control a room with their attitudes. If they are happy, we all get to be happy. If they are quiet and sad, no one gets to be exuberant and laugh. The thermostat just dictated how the room will be. This is both good and bad. Good with good attitudes. Bad with bad attitudes. Second Corinthians 9 is a good attitude from the Corinthian Christians. It’s so good that the apostle Paul boasts about them. Listen to what Paul says about the Corinthian thermostat:

I keep boasting to the churches of Macedonia about your passion to give, telling them that the believers of Corinth have been preparing to give for a year. Your enthusiasm is contagious—it has stirred many of them to do likewise. (2 Corinthians 9:2, TPT)

Their good contagious attitude showed itself through generosity and giving. The Corinthians’ enthusiasm to give was a thermostat and started an epidemic of giving among other Christians. They seemed to follow what Sir Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” The Corinthians not only made a life, but made a life worth emulating and imitating.

I love Paul’s phrase, Your enthusiasm is contagious. I want to be a good thermostat. I want to live a life worth imitating. I want my giving to inspire people. I want my life to inspire other people. I want my love for Jesus to inspire other people.

Do you?

Paul tells the Corinthians how wide their influence has been on other Christians. He tells them that their generosity didn’t just meet a need, but inspired people to be better. The dividends on their gift far exceeded their expectations of simply meeting a need. The result? Paul says much more happened to the church than having a need met.

So two good things happened as a result of your gifts—those in need are helped, and they overflow with thanks to God. Those you help will be glad not only because of your generous gifts to themselves and to others, but they will praise God for this proof that your deeds are as good as your doctrine. And they will pray for you with deep fervor and feeling because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you. (2 Corinthians 9:12-14, TLB)

J. L. Kraft (the head of Kraft Cheese Corporation) said this about giving to God’s work: “The only investments I have ever made which have paid constantly increasing dividends is the money I have given to the Lord.” The apostle Paul is about to tell us about those increasing dividends. Paul says your gift inspires people toward gratitude and praise. There are some times in which praise can come through an offering not just an instrument.

He also says, their gift was proof that their “deeds are as good as [their] doctrine.” That is powerful. Their generosity fleshes out what they believe. It’s one thing to say we believe a doctrine but a whole other thing to live it out. Generosity is the proof. Donald Miller says it like this: “What I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do.”

And finally, their generosity got them on the prayer list. Verse 14 says, “They will pray for you with deep fervor and feeling because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.” Generosity made people praise, gave them proof, and inspired them to pray.

Praise, proof, and prayer. All from a generous offering.

Why is it so hard to give away money? Why is it difficult not only to tithe but to be available to be generous when we hear of a need? It’s because Satan has found a way to block praise, proof, and prayer from coming our way by stopping generosity.

The famed psychiatrist Karl Menninger said, “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.” He’s right! They know the rewards of generosity—the rewards for them and others. As we mentioned earlier, but it’s a good reminder, Jim Eliot said it best, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

What a great gain for those generous Corinthian givers. Help us, Lord, to inspire people like that.