2 Corinthians 8:1-7 – “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us — see that you abound in this grace also.” NKJV
Today I’d like to pick up where we left off yesterday and consider the pieces of evidence that surface when we enter into Grace Giving. I truly hope these are beneficial in your consideration of Giving and the Grace of God. We know we are engaged in Grace Giving when…
- We Give In Spite of Circumstances. [2 Corinthians 8:1-2]
The churches Paul used as an example were in Macedonia and had or were experiencing severe difficulties. In fact (v.2) he identifies that they not only were in affliction but a “great trial of affliction”. They were in “deep poverty” a term used to describe a beggar who has absolutely nothing and no hope of getting anything. Out of the lack they gave. Do you remember the widow with her two mites that Jesus took note of? Grace Giving!
Their situation may have been, in part, caused by their following Christ. They may have lost jobs, etc. as a result of their confession of Jesus. However, the beautiful thing is their circumstances did not prevent them from “giving what they had”. What did Peter tell the beggar at the Gate Beautiful? “Such as I have, I give…” They gave Joyfully and Liberally. Imagine that! Great affliction and deep poverty plus Grace equal abundant joy and amazing liberality. That makes no sense to the natural mind.
When you have experienced the Grace of God in your life you Will Not use difficult circumstances as an excuse or justification to not give. If we remember that God is still in control, and He truly owns the cattle on a thousand hills and is the one who gives bread to the eater and seed to the sower we can give as He directs knowing He Can and He Will Provide!
- We Give Enthusiastically – [2 Corinthians 8:3-4]
I ask, “Is it possible to give generously and not give enthusiastically?” Maybe but incredibly infrequently. The Macedonian church needed no prompting or reminders, they begged to be included. (v.4).
Their giving was completely voluntary and spontaneous. It was Grace, not Pressure that prompted their giving. We sometimes fail to understand that Grace not only frees us from sin, but it frees us from ourselves. The Grace of God opens both the heart and the hand.
- We Give As Jesus Gave – [2 Corinthians 8:5-9]
Jesus is Always the preeminent example for us to follow whether in service, suffering, or sacrifice. The Macedonians gave themselves to others like Jesus. [v.5]. The Macedonian’s giving was motivated by Love!
What a rebuke to the church at Corinth that was enriched with spiritual blessings and gifts. (1 Corinthians 1:4-5). They were so wrapped up in their gifts they neglected the Grace of the Spirit. Oh, how we need balance in our lives. Let me offer this word of caution. You may have incredible spiritual gifts but that can never become a substitute for generous giving.
Paul made sure that the Corinthians understood he was not ordering them to give. He was contrasting the attitudes of the believers in Macedonia with those in Corinth. His message was that Grace Giving is evidence of love.
Let’s pause here and pick this up again in the next devotional. May the LORD encourage your heart and quicken your spirit to allow His Grace to permeate your entire being. Blessings as you go through this day!