August 13 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 87–88; Romans 13
They gave as much as they were able.
2 Corinthians 8:3
READ 2 Corinthians 8:1–9
During the pandemic lockdown, Jerry was forced to close his fitness center and had no income for months. One day he received a text from a friend asking to meet him at his facility at 6:00 p.m. Jerry wasn’t sure why but made his way there. Soon cars started streaming into the parking lot. The driver in the first car placed a basket on the sidewalk near the building. Then car after car (maybe fifty of them) came by. Those inside waved at Jerry or hollered out a hello, stopped at the basket, and dropped in a card or cash. Some sacrificed their money; all gave their time to encourage him.
The true nature of love is sacrificial, according to the apostle Paul. He explained to the Corinthians that the Macedonians gave “even beyond their ability” so they could meet the needs of the apostles and others (2 Corinthians 8:3). They even “pleaded” with Paul for the opportunity to give to them and to God’s people. The basis for their giving was the sacrificial heart of Jesus Himself. He left the riches of heaven to come to earth to be a servant and to give His very life. “Though he was rich, yet for [our] sake he became poor” (v. 9).
May we too plead with God so that we might “excel in this grace of giving” (v. 7) in order to lovingly meet the needs of others.
By Anne Cetas
REFLECT & PRAY
How might sacrificial service or giving fit into your life this week? Who needs your encouragement?
Loving God, You are so good. Please give me opportunities to bless others for You in Your power and wisdom.
Most of Paul’s epistles are bookended with greetings and benedictions that include the word grace. We see this in 2 Corinthians: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:2) and “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . be with you all” (13:14). What’s in view is “favor or kindness of some sort that’s freely given.” Grace is a translation of the Greek word cháris. Next to the book of Romans, this word appears in 2 Corinthians more than any other book in the New Testament. In 2 Corinthians 8, cháris occurs seven times. In the NIV in verses 1, 6, 7, and 9, it’s translated as grace. However, it can also be translated “the privilege” (v. 4), “thanks” (v. 16), and “the offering” (v. 19).