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. Acts 8:1-2
The focus of last week’s Encourage reminded us of God’s overflowing gifts in our lives. From forgiveness and grace, to comfort and hope, St. Paul frequently wrote of God’s lavish and abundant mercies in our lives. In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes how the Macedonian churches overflowed in generosity.
Since God has showered His blessings and gifts upon us, we can’t help but overflow in generosity. Gratitude from receiving all of God’s gifts wells up within new creation and overflows in generosity towards God. The gifts of God, first poured out upon us in the waters of Holy Baptism, transform our sinful, selfish attitudes into hearts of gratitude and generosity. The Word of God and the Lord’s Supper continue to shape us into holy people who lead holy lives. We lead generous lives because God has been so generous to us with His blessed gifts.
Christians should not be afraid to talk about generosity because it is part of our new identity. The most generous gift of all was God’s gift of Himself upon the cross. God truly withheld nothing, but instead offered the perfect and complete sacrifice of His own life on the altar of the cross on our behalf. There is nothing more generous than this gift. And since we have received God’s gracious and undeserved love, the lives of Christians are spent in response as each person has their own unique calling. Generosity flows from a heart that has been made clean by the blood of Christ and set free to love and serve others through their own gifts. Churches are places where we can talk about generosity without a total Law focus, but rather root it in God’s gifts to us and our response according to our identity as saints. God has caused so many gifts to overflow in your life, even generosity!
Prayer – Gracious God, You have abundantly provided for all of our needs of body and soul. May Your Word and Spirit transform our hearts to respond to Your good gifts with gratitude and generosity as we offer our gifts for Your kingdom work; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan