so i thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction. [2 corinthians 9:5] 


i so easily forget the goodness of God. i need reminding–i need brothers and sisters in Christ that will stand alongside me and encourage and stir me to action. this is why paul sends ahead the unnamed apostles. they arrive to the corinthians to stir, to encourage. to remind. when paul arrives, he doesn’t want to collect the gift as a tax collector or a landlord.  an exaction is, as the dictionary puts it, “a fee..levied with severity or injustice”. 

in our flesh, it can feel like the time, the energy and the money that we steward are our own. it can feel like we have a landlord or tax collector God who demands and exacts our resources. i need to be reminded that nothing is mine.  God loves me with his great love, that he gives to me generously so i can generously give of time, energy and resources. 


be reminded of his gifts!


he gives us the true light:

the true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. [john 1:9]

and the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. [revelation 21:23]


he gave us his own son:

for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. [john 3:16]


he gave himself for us:

and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. [ephesians 5:2]

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]


he gives us his righteousness:

for if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. [romans 5:17]


he gives us grace through faith:

for by grace you have been saved through faith. and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [ephesians 4:7]


he gives us the right to become his children:

but to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, [john 1:12]


he gives us eternal life:

for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our lord. [romans 6:23]

for as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. [john 5:21]

and this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [1 john 5:11]


he gives us peace and comfort:

peace i leave with you; my peace i give to you. not as the world gives do i give to you. let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [john 14:27]

now may our lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, [2 thess 2:16]


he gives us growth:

so neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth [1 corinthians 3:7]


he gives victory:

but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [1 corinthians 15:57]


he gives wisdom:

if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. [james 1:5]


he gives us all things:

he who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? [romans 8:32]


let us be sent out ahead, reminding each other of these (and the countless other) gifts that we receive from God! let us be imitators of Christ and we will magnify our glorious God by being willing and generous givers! 


~conor eastman