A close friend gave me a pink Louis Vuitton handbag after his 2-month business trip from China. He assured me it’s authentic. He bought it from a reliable retail outlet. “Read the card” he pressed.
Of course, I believe my friend beyond credulity.
Thrilled, I wore it proudly to the office one day. I placed it on top of my desk like it was exhibited on the prominent snow peak of Mt. Everest.
A colleague caught sight of the garish bag and darted towards it. She examined it closely, starting from the outside, proceeding to check at the inside, the brass feet, the gold zipper, the glossy body, the leathery strap.
As the onslaught of queries poured in, my pride abated question after question, rolling down my sleeves, to the armrest of my office chair, down to the carpeted floor.
What was I thinking?
I should have listened to my suspicions, knowing where it came from.
Just to be clear. I’m not mad at my friend, I remained thankful. However, I could have saved face by doing research, expose myself to the evidence of authenticity.
After all, it’s easy to authenticate tangible things. But what abstract concepts like love? Can we prove what’s inside a person’s heart? Can we give substance to things like our love for God?
We could say we love the Lord with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul. Our church attendance might be perfect. We could be serving at church or active in ministry.
Someone’s words and actions might convince us of their love for God. However, we couldn’t see their heart. We wouldn’t know if it’s genuine or not.
Just like there are methods to validate an authentic LV bag, there is also a way to prove genuine love for God. Here’s what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 8:7-8,
But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.
The context of this verse is about giving.
In the chapter, Paul encouraged the Corinthians to complete the eagerness they’ve started a year ago. The desire to give is already present, they only have to finish it up.
As much as the Corinthians excel in other Spiritual disciplines, they should also see to it to outshine in the grace of giving.
I understand tithing and giving is an uncomfortable topic to talk about, like how uneasy it felt when a colleague questioned the authenticity of the LV bag on my desk. But Scripture talks about it. Yes, including the New Testament.
Giving is how we can substantiate our love for God. Someone’s heart is revealed by following where their treasures go, their spending, and most importantly their cheerful giving.
So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.~2 Corinthians 8:24
We may pride ourselves on this or that, boasting our love for God, but it is our giving that truly proves genuine love.
PS: All verses in ESV