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. accordingly, we urged titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. but as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. [2 corinthians 8:1-7]
do you excel in the grace of giving extravagantly to those in need – as your God has extravagantly given to you who were and are in great need of his grace?
read that question over again. and, one more time read it again and ask yourself: do i “excel in this act of grace”? then ask the Lord: do i “excel in this act of grace”?
in galatians 2:10, paul is instructed by the leadership of the early church to remember the poor. as a leader, he is reminded – as you preach and teach the gospel and all its implications on our life, one of those is: you will give extravagantly because you see how extravagantly God has poured out his grace on you. and, you will be moved to give to those in need, just as God has given and continues to extravagantly give his endless grace to you.
today, re-read this passage. before you do, ask God to remind you of his presence with you right now. ask God to speak through his word. ask him to allow you to believe this is his living voice. ask him for his Spirit to help you understand his voice. then ask him, what is it you want me to grasp with joyful obedience today from this – your word.
then listen to his voice – his presence is with you!
then ask for Spirit-infused understanding and Spirit-empowered joyful obedience.
enjoy his presence!
~ john ryan