2 Corinthians 8:1–5 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
These verses show us an example of one of the most inspiring ways we can give back to the Lord, and that is through what we call “grace giving.” The Apostle Paul communicates to us through this passage that the Macedonian Christians gave as a result of “the grace of God.” Their giving was not a result of themselves, but rather, a result of the grace that God showed to them.
This is one of the great examples of “biblical giving” that we find in the Word of God. The very foundation of why we give to the Lord should be out of a heart of gratitude for all He has done for us. When we realize that it is God that sustains us, saves us, and provides for us, then the giving will become much more natural.
Even though the Macedonians had their fair share of poverty and affliction, they counted it a joy to give back to God because of the “good” that God had done in their lives. They could have easily focused on the poverty and affliction they were currently experiencing at the moment, but they chose the better part—and that was to focus on the wonderful grace of God!
Another thought that we can focus on together is that the Macedonians not only exemplified “grace giving,” but they also participated in “sacrificial giving.” These Christians were in a position of deep poverty. They could have very well come to the conclusion that they could not support the work of God because of what they were facing. However, they counted it a joy that they could give in their trial, and through their trial. As a result of this “sacrificial giving,” they were able to see the bigger picture (the importance of the work of God), and minimize the effect of their trials in their lives.
It is also appropriate to note that the Macedonians were giving to Christians that they didn’t even meet yet. This can be an inspiration for us. Our building program is for our family, and for the people we serve in the ministries that we know of today. However, the building is also for the people we will serve in the ministries of tomorrow, people which we have not even met.
Let’s get behind our building program, not only for our families, but also for the people in need of God today, tomorrow, and in the future.
There are three ways that we can give to the work of God:
1. Below our ability—far too often Christians give below their ability. There is no trace of sacrifice whatsoever. This type of giving does not require faith at all. When there is no faith, we cannot please God (Hebrews 11:6a – But without faith it is impossible to please him…)
2. At our ability—other Christians give at their ability. They give what is available after they have budgeted their mandatory expenses.
3. Beyond our ability—some Christians give beyond their ability. An amazing way to consider the Macedonian Christians’ gift is to say that they gave more than their ability, at least from a human perspective. From a human perspective, we could consider someone that has deep poverty and affliction as someone that is unable to contribute or give. So for the Macedonians, their gift was much more than anyone could have ever expected.
How will we give? Will we give out of a heart of gratitude, to the One Who has given us everything? May this be an inspiration for us today. Sometimes the very trials we experience in our lives that may be used as reasons not to give, may be the very tool that God will use to allow us to tap into “sacrificial giving.”
Most people want to give out of their abundance, when in reality, God wants us to give sacrificially. We must always remember that God is fully capable of funding His work. However, He takes great pleasure in seeing His children “sacrificially” give to His work, which in turn communicates that “His work” is just that important to us. I believe that once enough of God’s people exemplify sacrificial giving, a giving that goes beyond humanly perceived possibilities, then God will come in and make up the rest.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY
2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
The decision of identity determines the direction and end of our conversation or lifestyle.
What if we had to have church in your house? What kind of sanctuary would your home make?