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
We have considered three pieces of evidence we are engaged in Grace Giving so let’s consider others as well. We know we are engaged in Grace Giving when…
- We Give Willingly – [2 Corinthians 8:10-22]
There is a tremendous difference between Promise and Performance. The Corinthians had boasted to Titus a year earlier what they would do (v. 6) but had done nothing. In [vv.10-12] Paul addresses Willingness because Grace Giving must come from the heart.
In my years of ministry, I have endured many offering appeals that were what I call auction offerings and coercions rather than examples of Grace Giving. I have listened to heart-wrenching tales of dire need and forced myself to laugh at tired old jokes to somehow make it easier to part with my offering.
I have been scolded, shamed, and almost threatened and I confess none of those stirred me to give more than I had planned to give and in honesty, I have given less than I planned as a result and my becoming disgusted with what I considered a carnal approach. We must be careful not to confuse Willing and Doing. If the “willingness” is sincere and in the will of God, there will be a corresponding “doing”. Paul did not say that “willingness” was a substitute for “doing.”
I am convinced that God sees the “Gift of the Heart” as well as the “Gift in the Hand.” If the heart wanted to do more but could not, God sees the heart. I believe that God is more interested in the “proportion” than the “portion.”
- We Give By Faith – [2 Corinthians 8:13-24]
Please understand I am not talking about writing a check on funds you do not have and saying, “I’m giving by faith.” I question if that is faith or presumption. Rather step out in faith with the promise and as He puts it in your hands give it.
Grace Giving is an adventure of faith and incredibly exciting. When we learn to give “by grace through faith” just as we were saved, we will begin to experience a wonderful liberation that transcends circumstances and frees us from the hold of things in our lives. Instead of things possessing us, we will control them, and we will find a development of a wonderful new set of values and priorities.
Grace Giving enriches us as we enrich others.
Grace Giving transforms us to be more like Jesus in our lives.
May the LORD open the wonderful world of Grace Giving in your life and allow you to know the joy and thrill of His Grace in Giving! Abundant Blessing is my prayer!