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Devotional - week of May 15, 2011


GRACE GIVING

 

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 2 Corinthians 8:1-2

 

When Paul wrote this second letter to the Corinthians, he was receiving from churches a love offering for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. In chapters 8 and 9 he prepares the Corinthians to give generously.

 

Paul begins his words of encouragement by telling the Corinthians about the sacrificial giving of the churches in Macedonia. He attributes their unusual generosity to the grace that God had given them. In verse 9 of chapter eight, he reminds his readers in Corinth that it was grace that brought Jesus to the earth to die on the cross.

 

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.  2 Corinthians 8:9

 

With these two examples, Paul shows that grace in the life of a person prompts that person to sacrificial generosity. Having established the truth that grace prompts one to outstanding generosity, Paul makes it clear that the person who is filled with grace becomes a resource of grace. In 2 Corinthians 8:7 Paul writes:

 

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.

 

The word “abound” used twice in this verse has the idea of “overflowing,” “more than enough.” A person filled with the grace of God is a resource of abounding grace to others in unusual sacrificial giving. It is possible that the grace given to the churches of Macedonia was simply a sovereign work of God. However, Romans 5:1 teaches us to continue to receive grace. We do that by living out the directions of Romans 6:11-13.