Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 5 of “Compelled – Living the Value of Extreme Generosity” (LISTEN HERE).
Are you good at giving?
Somedays I feel I have enough to give. Somedays I feel frustrated that I feel obligated to give.
How about you?
Giving can be challenging.
In fact, there are probably other areas of the Christian life at which you are doing better. Maybe it is prayer – you are a regular prayer. Maybe it is attending worship … you are in church every weekend. Maybe it is in giving godly advice…you are sought after by your friends. Maybe it is in showing love to others…you are full of encouragement.
Yet in the spectrum of the Christian life, the Apostle Paul under inspiration of God wants to see us “excel in this grace of giving”!
2 Corinthians 8:7 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.
I love this phrase, “Grace of giving” because it is far more encouraging and inspiring than “obligation of giving” or the “have to be giving” phrases that we sometimes hear and honestly feel in our hearts. Giving can be a groaner of a topic. We can feel “imposed on” by the church to “have to” give.
But when we hear the encouragement to EXCEL in the GRACE of GIVING, does that not perk our ears to understand how is giving grace and how can I excel in it?
This little phrase puts giving in the context of grace. We just spent a week of devotions looking at another of our values, “Visible Grace.” Grace is the ultimate gift of restoration, forgiveness and love which God gives to us without us demanding it, earning it, or performing for it. Grace BY DEFINITION is a gift. Grace is the epitome of God’s heart of giving.
Giving starts and ends with the generosity of God. We cannot practice extreme generosity or excel in the grace of giving without basking in the amazing, giving nature of God.
God excelled in the grace of giving:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The heart of God was to give his Son for us! The reality of our eternal salvation rests in the extreme generosity of our heavenly Father to give his Son to us. The certainty of our restored relationship with God rests in the heart of Jesus who was willing to GIVE his life as a ransom for all.
Grace GAVE us the gift of salvation.
Grace GIVES us all we need in life. Grace is a perspective that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. As a recipient of grace, I realize that I have received the gifts of God so that I will excel in the grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Grace enables us to abound in every good work. Grace is the compelling factor to excel in the grace of giving!
Apply: Make a list today with the heading, “God’s gifts to me.” How many can you list? These are all a gift of God’s goodness and grace.
Prayer: Lord, as you excelled in the grace of giving to me, empower me to excel in the grace of giving. AMEN.