Daily Worship

Discipleship’s grace and generosity

July 01, 2022 1
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2 Corinthians 8: 1-7 (NRSVA)

1 We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2 for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, 4 begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints— 5 and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6 so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you —so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

The Christian community is tasked to be generous in giving to enable the work of the Kingdom to flourish. This has always been the case, from the very beginning of the Church, in a time when persecution put faith to the test.

When the Church in Jerusalem was facing hardship, Paul collected gifts for the people there while travelling among various churches. As a source of inspiration to the Corinthians to give generously, Paul mentioned the Macedonians as model givers. Despite having to deal with their own trials and extreme poverty themselves, the Macedonians opened their hearts and their hands. They were richly generous. They had a healthy inner spirit.  True giving is not measured by the size of the gift but by the spirit of the giver.

Doing “random acts of kindness” when we’re in the mood is never enough. Kindness calls us to respond even when it might not be convenient or fit our schedule. Generosity should grow from a matter of deliberate decision, to something which flows naturally and without question, even when it costs us.

Consider that strange mixture of words combined in one short sentence which Paul uses to describe these Macedonian Christians: trial, joy, poverty, generosity.

The Macedonians gave themselves to the Lord first. Then, as they grew in God's grace and blessing, even though they were poor, they gave generously for the needs of others, reflecting God’s great love. God’s overflowing grace sparked and ignited their overflowing generosity.

If we concentrate on that abundant grace, then joy and generosity will flow richly from deep within us too.

 

PRAYER:

 

Loving Lord God, you have bountifully and graciously blessed us. Make us generous, far more than we can imagine. Help us to see where help is needed, and to give with open hearts and hands. Grant to us a spirit of joy that gratefully blesses others in our giving.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.