We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for 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 Cor. 8: 1– 5)
Heavenly Father, we come before you today challenged by this picture of radical grace. This one story alone underscores why we can never emphasize your grace too much. Grace is never to be counterbalanced with law, only multiplied with more grace. Indeed, through Jesus you continue to give us grace upon grace (John 1: 16). What an amazing story— the severely afflicted and extremely poor Christians of Macedonia became a model of radical generosity to the much wealthier believers in Corinth. And according to you, their motivation wasn’t fear and guilt; it was multiplied grace. For you love cheerful giving, not reluctant giving compelled by pressure from without (2 Cor. 9: 7).
Father, only your grace is powerful enough to give us abundant joy in the absence of affluence, coupled with hearts that beg to give sacrificially beyond our means for the benefit of strangers! The law cannot produce that kind of people— not even grace plus law, but only grace upon grace.
For the glory of Jesus and the advancing of your kingdom, we ask you to give us the same grace you gave the churches of Macedonia. The needs all around us are exponential, but your resources are endless. Indeed, help us to excel in the grace of giving. For you are “able to make all grace abound to [us], so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, [we] can abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9: 8). Enrich us in every way that we might be generous in every way (2 Cor. 9: 11)— with our time, talents, and treasures, and with great forbearance and extravagant forgiveness.
Jesus, you are the ultimate cheerful giver. That is what the gospel is all about. Though you were rich, you gladly became poor for us, that by your poverty we might become joyfully rich through you (2 Cor. 8: 9). Make your gladness ours. Make your generosity ours. We pray in your great and gracious name. Amen.
Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8
IT’S ALL ABOUT GRACE
I don’t think any of us could justify ourselves as being worthy to have been saved. All of us should recognize that none of us deserve God’s grace. The only thing that we contribute is like the old church hymn said; that all we bring are hands full of sin and only to the cross can we cling. The brilliant Apostle Paul, who sat at the feet of the great teacher Gamaliel, said, “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1st Cor 2:2).