Do You Have the Grace of Giving?

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In many of the letters in the New Testament we find examples of people being corrected and encouraged to repent of their sinful behavior. This even includes entire churches like those found in the book of Revelation chapter two and three. Very rarely do we see a person or church that is held up as an example for others and praised for their faith and actions. 

Paul spends time in the book of Second Corinthians giving us an example of a group of churches that are praised for their willingness to give themselves to God, and their willingness to help those in need. We have been studying what it means to be the church in our Sunday night class focusing on the establishment of the church found in Acts chapter two. The importance of the early church’s example to us as Christians can not be over emphasized. Here Paul holds up the churches in Macedonian as an example for the church at Corinth and all those that might read Paul’s letter. 

“And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving” (2 Corinthians 8:1-7).

Paul instructs the church to excel in the grace of giving. Let us never forget the importance of our generosity. Our giving should not come from a command but from our love for God. Jesus Himself is our perfect example of giving in His willingness to give His all, even His life, for us. We can never give as much as Jesus did, but when we give with a willing heart it will be acceptable to God (2 Corinthians 8:12).

Brad Tolbert 
Monticello church of Christ
Monticello, AR

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