by Peter G. Feenstra
Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia. 2 Corinthians 8:1
2 Corinthians 8:1–9
Every Lord’s Day you receive opportunity to give your gifts and offerings for the assistance of those who are in need. But why do you give? Are you able to explain to your children or to someone coming to church for the first time why giving is important?
Giving for those in need is a response of faith, deeply planted and rooted in the grace of God. Transformed by the Spirit and touched by the grace of God we see our responsibility to help others in need—physically, spiritually and materially. Right after Pentecost we are told about the great grace which was upon the company of those who believed so that there was no needy person among them (Acts 4:33–35).
In 2 Corinthians 8 the apostle Paul addresses the subject of giving quite extensively. Notice how he connects giving and grace. In verse 1 he writes, “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.” These churches work out what the Lord in His grace is working in them. In verse 4 the same Greek word for grace is used. Translated literally it says, “they urgently pleaded with us that we should receive the grace and the communion of service to the saints.” Verses 6 & 7 continue to connect giving to grace, “So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you excel in this grace also.” In verse 9 the apostle makes clear the act of giving has its roots in the undeserved favour and mercy shown to us in Christ. “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.”
Every Christian needs to hear and put into practice what the Spirit teaches us. Those who have received grace need to go out and be gracious. A desire to be gracious should be imprinted on our hearts as adults and it needs to be impressed on our young people by the instruction and example of parents. As children of God we have been given so much and we shouldn’t use it frivolously. Thank God for the principles He has laid down in His Word, teaching us how to have a healthy view of the ministry of mercy.For further information about this resource, click here.