Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 4 June 19:
2 Corinthians 8:1 – “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia….”
The evidence of the miraculous power of God was being revealed mightily in Macedonia in the lives of the believers there. How? “In a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” (2 Corinthians 8:2-5) Compelled by the grace of God in their lives, the Macedonians, despite their own poverty and affliction, eagerly, insistently and joyfully gave beyond their means, beyond what anyone would consider reasonable, radically. How often do you see that kind of giving? How often do you give that way?
It is one thing to give, and it is another thing to give beyond your means with great joy in your heart. What could possibly inspire the Macedonians to give this way? Paul tells us: “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” (2 Corinthians 8:5) The Macedonians gave beyond their perceived capacity because they had already given themselves completely to the Lord – “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1) Loving children desire to be like their loving parents. We should desire to give like Jesus gave – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Jesus became poor to make us rich. Have you ever known anyone to became poor because they gave too much? What does your level of giving say about the impact of God’s grace in your life and about how much you truly love God and others?
– 2 Corinthians 9:7 — Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 June 19: Pray that God will overwhelm you with His grace and inspire in you a heart that truly desires to give abundantly as an expression of your love for God and for others.