The Apostle Paul told the church at Corinth about another church on which God had bestowed a special grace. That church was in Macedonia and that grace involved their giving (2 Corinthians 8:1–15).
It was the prayer of the Apostle Paul that the Corinthian church would learn from this and show the same grace as well. This classic passage on giving demonstrates what grace giving is all about. Paul wanted the church at Corinth to realize that giving is truly a spiritual discipline. While it is true that we ought to read our Bibles, pray, and go to church regularly, it is also true that our giving is just as much of a spiritual discipline that ought to be practiced.
It is so easy to excuse one’s lack of grace giving with a variety of reasons. These excuses are annihilated when looking at the Macedonian church. We see a church that was deeply impoverished (2 Corinthians 8:2). And yet they still gave with liberality (well defined as extreme generosity). It would be wise to remember that we are created in the image of God and He certainly appreciates our generosity toward Him. This is true whether measured in our time, our talents or our treasure.
It is extremely interesting to note that the Macedonians gave beyond their ability. They did not figure out what they could afford; rather, they were grace givers. One of the greatest biblical illustrations of this can be found in Mark 12 where the widow cast her two mites into the offering. God’s Word notes that she gave of her “want,” not of her surplus.
Proper stewardship of our monies and resources is an outward sign of an inward love. John 3:16 is the most famous passage in all of Scripture and it simply states that God loved and God gave. What an example to us. When we love, we will give. Paul states that our giving proves our love. If we love our spouses…we will give. If we love our children…we will give. If we love our churches, missionaries, and our Lord…we will give.
True grace giving is a lifelong stewardship of one’s resources. Grace giving is not a onetime gift although it may exhibit grace to give a donation. Rather it is a continuing spirit of sacrifice and charity. A grace giver will see the need and seek to make a difference. The grace giver realizes that compassion is not just a feeling, but rather an action. The priest and the Levite on the Jericho road undoubtedly felt sorry for the man who had been beaten and robbed, but the Samaritan had compassion on him. Many a church member feels sorry for the lost and dying who have never heard the gospel, but far fewer have the grace to regularly contribute to Faith Promise Missions.
Grace givers realize that they CAN trust God with their resources. They realize that it is impossible to out give God. Growing up in a pastor’s home I was taught to tithe and give at an early age. I well remember my father teaching us children this simple principle regarding giving, “We shovel it out and God shovels it in. But God has a bigger shovel than we do.”
The grace giver has learned to “hold loosely” to the things of this world. The grace giver realizes that while we cannot take material possessions with us, we can send things on ahead. We must constantly remind ourselves that God is the great multiplier. We must simply relinquish what we possess to His care.
The world we live in seems to value what a person has. God’s Word makes it clear that He values what a person gives. Let us ask the Lord to help us, like the church of Macedonia, to grow in the grace of giving. As Dr. Don Sisk is so famous for saying, “Everyone giving something, and everyone giving more than they ever did before.”