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The Scriptorium

Grace in Giving

All kinds of giving. 2 Corinthians 8.1-5

2 Corinthians 8 (1)

Pray Psalm 86.16, 17.
Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me!
Give Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your maidservant.
Show me a sign for good,
That those who hate me may see it and be ashamed,
Because You, LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

Sing Psalm 86.16, 17.
(Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
Turn to me, LORD; be gracious to me;
grant me Your strength; save Your servant, LORD!
Let me a sign of something good see;
shame all who hate me beneath Your Word.
LORD, be gracious to me, LORD, be gracious to me,
for You help me, sovereign Lord!

Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 8.1-5.

1. How did the grace of God appear in the Macedonian churches?

2. What was the key to this happening?

Grace spreads as we give of ourselves to others (v. 1). Nothing can keep us from being grace spreaders. As we give ourselves to the Lord and know the joy of His Presence, we will freely give ourselves to others according to His will (v. 5). And by this means, grace spreads unto thanksgiving to the Lord (2 Cor. 4.15).

This is what Paul experienced among the churches in Macedonia. He knew affliction there, and so did they. But this did not prevent them from rejoicing in the Lord, spreading His grace to Paul, and, in our text for today, giving freely and abundantly of their resources to aid the churches in Judea (1 Cor. 16.1-4).

We will not repent of sin, walk the Yes Path with Jesus, know any true and lasting joy, or give ourselves in love to others apart from the grace of God. But by giving ourselves to the Lord—submitting all we are and have to Him for His glory—we know the joy of His Presence and the freedom to give, even beyond what might seem to be our ability, to help meet the needs of others (vv. 2-4).

Grace can move us to many kinds of giving, not just monetary. It takes grace to be a good listener, to spend time encouraging others, help someone with a task, speak kindly unto edification, give a word of testimony, provide a meal, give up some possession, or refuse to pay back evil for evil. When we give, whatever we give, we create an emptiness in our lives which becomes a space where the grace and Presence of the Lord can fill us to overflowing, the result of which is joy.

And this begins with a decision: Give yourself to Jesus and Jesus will empower you to give yourself for others.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
David was stationed in the cave of Adullam, and the Philistines were camped out in Bethlehem. Things were topsy-turvy in his kingdom, and you might say he was in a “great trial of affliction” (2 Cor. 8.2). Amid his sorrow David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of the water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” (2 Sam. 23.15)

Three of David’s most courageous, battle-hardened mighty men heard his desire, and set out to be grace-spreaders in his time of trouble and hardship. “So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David” (2 Sam. 23.16).

David, overwhelmed by their grace, poured the water out to the LORD, not willing to drink it. But the message of their respect, love, and grace got through loud and clear.

While the religious of Jesus’ day were trying to figure out how best to put Him to death, and “take Him by trickery”, a woman came to Him as He sat having dinner at Simon the leper’s home. She had an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard, which she broke, pouring the contents on His head, as an act of love and grace. Of course, the religious were furious because it was very expensive oil; and because the wicked have a deep aversion to God’s grace being shown at all. But Jesus’ words about her, as He said, have been told as a memorial to her “wherever the gospel is preached.”

Jesus said about her act of grace, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me…She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial” (Mk. 14.1-9).

As Paul said about the churches of Macedonia regarding their grace spreading: “For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing…” (2 Cor. 8.3). Equally as willing as the soldiers and the woman.

“Grace can move us to many kinds of giving…when we give, whatever we give, we create an emptiness in our lives which becomes a space where the grace and Presence of the Lord can fill us to overflowing, the result of which is joy.”

We, too, can be like the three mighty men and the oil-pouring woman, daily giving and spreading grace. But, most assuredly it does begin “with a decision: Give yourself to Jesus and Jesus will empower you to give yourself for others.”

For reflection
1. To whom will you give yourself today as a channel of God’s grace?

2. How should you prepare each day to make the most of every opportunity for spreading the grace of God?

3. Who has spread God’s grace to you lately? Give thanks to God for them, and take the time to tell them thanks.

The grace of God must be owned as the root and fountain of all the good in us, or done by us, at any time. It is great grace and favor from God, if we are made useful to others, and forward to any good work.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8.1-6

Pray Psalm 86.7-15.
Pray for grace today, that you might give yourself to the Lord and to others in good works of love.

Sing Psalm 86.7-15.
(Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
When in my trouble, LORD, I call You,
You answer me; there is none like You!
There are no works like Yours, and all whom
You have created shall worship You.
LORD, be gracious to me, LORD, be gracious to me,
all shall glory give to You!

For You are great, You wondrous do;
You are the only and sovereign LORD.
Teach me Your way, let me give heed to,
with all my heart, Savior, all Your Word!
LORD, be gracious to me, LORD, be gracious to me,
praise Your Name forever, LORD!

Great is Your mercy, LORD, toward me;
You have delivered my soul from hell.
Though dreadful foes and threats arrayed be,
You will Your grace and Your mercy tell!
LORD, be gracious to me, LORD, be gracious to me,
slow to anger, loving well!

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today needs revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter, available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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