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a generous gift to an elderly lady December 2 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 2Corinthians 7:4- 9:15

Give Generously

Christmas is the season for giving. We give gifts to each other and to friends. We may send gifts to soldiers or to the poor. We may make a special visit to nursing homes and bring gifts to the elderly. God is pleased when Christians are generous and give with cheerful hearts at Christmas and throughout the year.

Though the Corinthians had many problems, the Apostle Paul was still proud of them. He spoke well of them because of their love and hospitality. When Paul was away from them, he heard encouraging reports of their hospitality towards Titus, Paul’s fellow laborer in the ministry. Titus told Paul he was greatly missed, and that the Corinthian believers shared his sorrows and concerns about his gospel ministry. This encouraged Paul. What do we do to encourage ministers of the gospel or other servants of God?

Paul sought to bring some material encouragement to the poor persecuted believers in Jerusalem. He was collecting a contribution from all the churches to be given to them. The Corinthian believers had excelled in their hospitality and love. Now Paul encouraged them to excel in grace giving.

What is grace giving? Grace giving is based on the grace each believer receives. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich,” (2Corinthians 8:9, NIV). Because of the grace we have received in salvation, we willingly give sacrificially to meet the material needs of others. Some people have learned to be more gracious than others and have been blessed for it. Paul says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously,” (2Corinthians 9:6, NIV).

The Corinthians believers were the first church in Asia to extend material help to brothers in Christ, and Paul was proud of them. The continuance of their giving would be a proof of their love of which Paul boasted. Are we one-time grace givers or continual grace givers? Let us be persistent in our giving as a proof of our love.

How do we practice grace giving? Of course there are random times when God moves our hearts to do something, but planned giving leads to consistent expressions of our love. Paul told the Corinthians to prepare for his coming. This undoubtedly meant the Corinthians would have to save up a lump sum, or regularly set aside amounts to be given when he came. Paul wanted them to be generous. Paul even wanted them to be sacrificial. Knowing the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, should we do less?

Grace giving, however, is not compulsory giving.

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work,” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8, NIV).

In fact, if we participate in grace giving, Paul promises that God will see our righteousness and will give us even more so that we can further our grace giving (2 Corinthians 9:10-11).

What are the benefits to grace giving? Givers should not give to get. The motivation for giving is love, not greed. There are, however, benefits to giving. First, we are made richer in our spirituality because we are generous like Christ (9:11). Second, God promises to meet our needs and enable us to bless others on every occasion (9:11). Third, we are blessing people by meeting their material needs. This causes them to have joy in their hearts because of our obedience to Christ, and it causes them to have a fond affection for us (9:13). Fourth, because of our joyful generosity, those blessed will likely pray for special blessings upon us (9:14).

Lessons to live by:

  • God is pleased when Christians are generous in their giving.
  • We should excel in love, hospitality, and grace giving
  • Those who practice grace giving bless others and are blessed by God and those whom they help.
  • In his grace, Jesus sacrificed himself for us so that we might have forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...). We are like Jesus when we give sacrificially.

Today’s memory verse:

2 Corinthians 8:7 “But just as you excel in everything-- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us --see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (NIV)

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