2 Corinthians 8
In considering the Grace of Giving or Grace Giving there is a key worthy of consideration. When one experiences the Grace of God in their lives, they will not use difficult circumstances as an excuse for not giving. The question is, “Are circumstances ever an encouragement to give?” Maybe, but probably not as much as we would contend.
We need to keep in focus that God is God no matter what we face, and His program is not dependent upon the economy of the world or circumstances. He is still in control and He still owns it all.
- Grace Giving Occurs When We Give Enthusiastically. (vv.3-4).
Let me pose an interesting question for you to consider. “Is It Possible to Give Generously and Not Give Enthusiastically?”
I remember the story of a miserly member of a congregation who said, “The preacher tells us to give until it hurts, but for me, it hurts to think of giving.” Another said in response to the pastor’s urging that it was better to give than receive, “If giving is better than getting, I don’t think I could stand it. I enjoy getting so much.” Attitude is a key factor.
The Macedonian Church needed no prompting or reminding, they were ‘more than willing’ to share in the offering. Paul makes an astounding statement in verse 4 that they literally ‘begged’ to be allowed to participate. That is incredible! Their giving was voluntary and spontaneous. It was of Grace not Pressure that they gave. They gave because they wanted to and because they had experienced the Grace of God in their lives.
Grace not only frees us from sin but frees us from ourselves. The Grace of God will open the heart and then the hand. Giving from a perspective of Grace is never cold and calculated but out of warmhearted jubilation.
- Grace Giving Occurs When We Give as Jesus Gave. (vv.5-9).
The Bible makes it incredibly clear that Jesus is ‘always’ our preeminent example to follow in all things. That includes service, suffering, and sacrifice.
The Macedonians gave themselves to others as Jesus did. (v.5). If we give ourselves to God, we will have no problem giving our substance to Him as well. Likewise, if we give ourselves to God, we will also find joy in giving ourselves to others. It is impossible to Love God and ignore the needs of our neighbor.
The Macedonians gave through the motivation of Love. (vv. 7-8). That was a rebuke to the Church at Corinth. The Church at Corinth was incredibly enriched with spiritual blessings and gifts. (1 Corinthians 1:4-5). They had become so wrapped up in the Gifts of the Spirit they neglected the Grace of the Spirit. Balance is vital and must be sought and maintained if we are to be healthy Christians.
The Macedonian Churches had an “abundance of deep poverty” (v.2), and yet they abounded in their liberality. The Corinthian Church had an “abundance of spiritual gifts,” yet were lax in keeping their promise and sharing in the offering for the needy. That is incredible!
I insist that we must never adopt the view or argument that our spiritual gifts are a substitute for generous giving. Our gifts are just that, Gifts. If we remember that truth it will help us and motivate us to give to others and not hide behind our ministry. Paul made it incredibly clear to the Corinthian believers that he was not ordering them to give but appealing to them. His contrasting of the attitude of the Macedonians to the Corinthians was to motivate, not coerce.
We will look a little deeper in another devotional but will pause here.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful Day of Grace in Jesus!