At church on Sunday I preached from the passage of 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. I have mentioned that passage in a past blog that I had written titled “Out of Abundance.” Take a minute to look at that past post. In that past post, I neglected to mention something that is crucial…Grace. Let me explain.
At the time of posting the earlier blog, I was struggling with the disparity between the Church in India and the Church in America. Simply put, America is wealthy and India is not. I was using that text to encourage Christians in America to give to poor churches in India. This is similar to what Paul was doing when he wrote to the Church in Corinth. However, I failed to mention that my words of encouragement should not be the primary reason for giving. The primary reason for giving should be the grace of God.
In verse 1, we see Paul say to the Corinthians, “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia.” Paul goes on to say that the Macedonia Churches had become radical in their support for the poor church in Jerusalem. The Macedonia Churches had given despite being afflicted and extremely poor. They had given beyond their means. In fact, they even begged to give (how many of us could claim that we ever begged to give money away?). What caused them to do this? Verse 1 says it was the grace of God that caused them to give.
God was the catalyst behind this radical lifestyle. God was the reason that Macedonia was more concerned about their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem then their own well being. God was the power behind their sacrificial surrender. It was the grace of God that caused the Macedonia Churches to look like Jesus Christ. It wasn’t their will power, or worldly guilt, or pressure from the top down. It was God giving them a new heart, a heart of flesh, not a heart of stone. 1 John 4:19 sums it up, “We love because he first loved us.”
Lastly, if we give from grace, there is joy in giving. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
Therefore, I pray that the Lord will shower us with his grace and our giving will be driven by our grace filled heart. A heart that loves Jesus Christ more than life.