#835. The grace of God creates generosity (13/6/23)
This week’s devotionals are inspired by our recent New Ground Sunday. To find out more about our family of churches, please go to:
Summary: An experience of the grace of God frees us to be financially generous.
To watch this devotional, please go to:
‘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…’ (2 Corinthians 8:1-3)
Money is a sensitive subject, but it’s also an important subject that we need to learn about. Like sex and power, it’s often the thing that can destroy lives and cause people and organisations to go bad. A Christian can be ‘on fire’ only to become distracted by the acquisition of status and safety from money and lose their way. All of us are vulnerable to the lure of wealth and prayerful stewardship and generosity is the antidote to financial idolatry.
Paul draws the attention of the Corinthians to the example of the Macedonian churches. The beauty of being in a family of churches is the way that we can set an example and be inspired by one another. This can tip over in envy and pride but, when sin is kept out of it, the example of others powerfully inspires and teaches us.
Paul draws their (and our) attention to their generosity even against the backdrop of severe trial. It’s easy to be generous when we have lots and life is easy but God wants to teach us to be generous when life is hard and we are financially challenged! Jesus’ use of the example of ‘the widow’s mite’ is a great example of Jesus, like Paul, using the example of someone who is generous whilst being financially challenged.
Paul speaks of their giving as being birthed out of ‘the grace of God’. ‘Grace’ means the free gift of God. The grace of God, firstly, means that the generosity of these churches was birth out of the amazement that God had given them His Son to save them and so surely He can be trusted to meet our financial needs! Secondly, the grace of God was the inspiration that the Spirit gives to trust the Father and so give out of faith.
An experience of the grace of God frees us to be financially generous. Is the grace of God welling up in rich generosity in our lives? Firstly, are we giving generously to our local church? Are we tithing (giving 10% of our income) which, I believe, is a good starting point for us? Let’s allow the Spirit to work in us so that it could be said of us, ‘They gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own.’
(If you call CCP your home church, we invite you to start giving by going to https://www.communitychurchputney.com/giving )
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Firstly, let’s watch this message from Jim partridges together:
Please read 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 again.
What particularly struck you from Jim's message?
What 2 relationships are we urged to give ourselves to and how is this being worked out in our lives and church?
SIV - How does working with New Ground help us to fufill The Great Commission?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?