Excel in the Grace of Giving

Excel in the Grace of Giving

Words of Faith 11-8-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Corinthians 8

[6] So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. [7] But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

   [8] I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. [9] For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

 

         It is easy for us to slowly sink into a place where we try to give "our share" or do "our part.” We sometimes gauge our giving based upon the current needs that we see in the church. But Paul commended a completely different attitude in the stewardship of God's resources and that was to excel in the grace of giving.

         In the light of this grace that was evident among the Macedonians, Paul called upon the Corinthians, who had benefited so richly from God's grace to respond in a similar way. How could they do any less? Paul dispatched Titus to receive and administer the Corinthians' portion of the collection giving them opportunity to excel in this grace of giving.

         It is a wonderful phrase: "Excel in the grace of giving.” Giving is an act of grace. Giving is the essence of grace. Excellence in the grace of giving very much reflects the heart of God.

       In writing to the Romans, Paul had mentioned the gift of "contributing to the needs of others" (Rom. 12:8). The right use of this divine gift was to give generously. Paul himself had certainly given unsparingly to the Corinthians, and they in turn had professed their affection for him. Paul wanted them to excel in their "giving" because giving expresses love and reflects the heart of God.

         Paul, ever sensitive to the charge that he dominated the churches he founded, preferred that their motivation not stem from external commands. He wanted them to be motivated by their internal devotion and the sincerity of love for the Lord.

         Could the Corinthians face being compared with the Macedonians in this regard? Or could they face being compared with their Lord, who is supremely worthy of emulation? Few statements surpass verse 9 as a pithy summary of the gospel-- "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich."

         From the splendor of heaven Christ came to the squalor of human experience. The Incarnation was an incomprehensible renunciation of spiritual and material glory. The One who was rich, who had everything, became poor, making Himself nothing. He assumed humanity's debt of sin and paid for it with His life. The Corinthians had directly benefited from His generosity. He became what they were (poor) so that they could become what He was and is (rich). Therefore was a material offering to Him too much to ask?

         The heart of God is giving. The heart of he Gospel is giving, God so loved the world that he gave... The nature of grace is giving. How can we find ourselves in any other place? And how could we consider giving as an obligation or burden?

 

       Father, teach me how to give. Teach me the grace of generous giving and help me to excel in it. In Jesus' Name.