This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Steve Flood, one of Northpoint’s elders.
Grace, Cheer, and Giving
Hello Church Family,
The Easter season gives us a chance to reflect on the defining act of God in all of human history. Thoughts of amazement and thanksgiving occur when we meditate on the life and sacrifice of Christ. In addition, it sets in motion the example and motivation for every believer to follow. God gave His only begotten Son. Christ gave His life. So also, He calls us to give.
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” This is how Paul ends the ninth chapter of 2 Corinthians. We all agree this exclamation would make a great title for an Easter message. In this passage of Scripture, however, it is the final statement in a section about giving. When it comes to the topic of giving in the Bible, most of us don’t think about verse 15. Most of us do remember verse 7, however, which comes much earlier in the chapter. 2 Corinthians 9:7, and its admonition for cheerful giving, has provided many of us the standard by which we judge both the “quantity” and “quality” of our giving. I am no different than the rest of the body in this fact. Instead of meditating on verse 7 this week as I normally would when reflecting on giving, I decided to do something different and spend my time praying about the verses that focus on what God has given us. As I did this, it struck me: it is so easy to miss the bigger point in this chapter!
I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise. Even after sitting under John’s preaching about the indicatives and imperatives for five years, I find myself constantly needing to “rewire” my thoughts in order to sufficiently grasp this truth: God always gives before he commands. God continually fills us with grace before we are sent to be a conduit of His grace to the world. 2 Corinthians 9 is no exception. The cheerfulness of our giving is related directly to the grace that abounds to us (v. 8), God’s generous provisions for us (vv. 10 & 11), the confession of the gospel of Christ (v. 13), the surpassing grace of God in us (v. 14), and our thanksgiving to God for His indescribable gift (v. 15).
While God has developed a heart in me that gives and enjoys giving, I haven’t fully appreciated the reality of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 9. The object of my cheer is often related to my perception of the resources God had given me at a specific moment, or the perceived joy I have in giving for a specific need or ministry. This applies to my time, energy, and money. After focusing on what God has given us in this passage, I can almost hear Paul saying: “Before you look at your bank statement to see what is in your ‘Cheer’ account, take a look in your ‘Grace’ account. Really appreciate the surpassing grace of God in you, and the indescribable gift God has given you.” As I have prayed and reflected on this reality, the other passages on giving come to life: the widow and her mite, the Good Samaritan, the Macedonians’ gifts, the treasure principle in Matthew 6:21, and 2 Corinthians 9:6 in the passage to which I’ve just alluded. It is God’s abundance that gives life to, and substance for our giving. In us, it becomes creative, enthusiastic, and generous. What a way to live!
As you spend the next week meditating on the amazing reality of the Lord’s life, sacrifice, and resurrection from the dead, I want you to fully appreciate the grace God has poured out to you. Reflect on what God has given you and the life that God has called you to pour out to the world.