Preparation for Prayer: Lord, grant me the wisdom to understand your generosity through the scripture provided. Open up my soul to come to know where you are at work within me and our church so that our heart begins to mirror yours. Thank you for leading, convicting, inspiring and transforming me as I yearn to follow your ways in all I do. Amen.
Scripture Reading: 2 Cor 8:1-15
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
The apostle Paul is speaking to the church in Corinth in the hopes that the body will recognize the role they have in supporting the expansion of the Gospel. A key to this section of scripture is within 2 Cor 8:8-9. The scripture provides us a comparison of what we give verses what God already gave on our behalf. The bible is sometimes not easy for us to fully comprehend when it comes to generosity. The generous giver knows and understands that giving does not begin until there is sacrifice in alignment with the sacrifice of Christ. The Corinthians never fully figured this out.
Ø Continue your time with the Lord by reflecting on: A time in your life when you have given generously. What impact did this have on both you and the recipient? Did the church play a role? Did it support your action of love? What could happen if we all came together to share love in our community?
After reflecting, bring your petitions to the Lord for the ministries of the church – children, student, adult, mission, worship, outreach, congregational care, the leadership, etc. Please ask our God to shower His favor and generous blessings on us so that Christ’s grace would transform our community and nation.