But since you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 8:7 (NIV)
Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1-24
The following is adapted from a post entitled ‘Giving cheerfully, not reluctantly’, published on 8th May 2017.
Consider: Paul wrote to the church in Corinth to encourage the believers there to give towards a collection for the suffering church. Paul is not interested in their money; rather he is interested in seeing them express their love for God in their giving.
Paul uses the phrases ‘act of grace’ (v6) and ‘the grace of giving’ (v7) when encouraging the believers at Corinth to give. We can think of this in two ways: grace that is expressed by the believers at Corinth and grace that is received by the believers who were suffering. We must keep in mind that grace is unmerited and the grace we receive from God far exceeds the grace we can express towards others. However, our motivation for giving is because of the grace God has shown us.
I’m sure you’ve had situations in the past where you have had a personal battle about how much money you should give, either to your church or to a charity. I have found that the battles don’t get any easier as earning capacity rises. Let me assure you that everyone has the same battles. It isn’t that we have the battles, but how they are resolved that matters. While some people find it easy to give, others find it easy to talk themselves out of giving.
Paul does not advocate giving so that we ourselves have nothing. What he wants is more equality in the world (2 Corinthians 8:13-15). While God’s Word encourages us to give, we must also keep in mind that God does not expect us to give beyond our means. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:12 – For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. The difficulty for each of us is differentiating between what we ‘want’ and what we ‘need’.
Remember next time you give that it is an expression of the grace God has poured out on you, as well as a blessing that is poured out on those who receive the gift.
Pray: Father, may we see grace at work in our lives when we give generously to meet the needs of others. Amen