Giving of our time, talent, and treasure is an act of Worship. It is a response of generosity that recognizes how God has first been generous with us, and enables us to be generous with the world.
2017 Stewardship season
“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.” 2 Corinthians 8:7
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
In these two scriptures from 2 Corinthians Paul is writing to the church in Corinth about the generosity of the Macedonian churches. The first scripture is a command to “excel in the grace of giving”. Mercifully this command is followed by the promise that “God is able to bless you abundantly”. We are given a command to be generous and then given the promise that God will make our generosity possible. And the promise is marked by words of plenty - words like abundantly, all, abound, every. None of our often used human qualifiers can be found - qualifiers like practically, almost, or nearly, no mights or maybes.
However the promise has a stipulation, a “so”. Does the “so" mean our blessings are contingent upon our abounding in the good work which is mentioned?
Of course we know that is not true. Our foremost blessing from God is in the life and death of Jesus Christ, a totally undeserved gift received by grace alone which can neither be earned nor forfeited. Plus day after day we freely receive innumerable blessings easily seen in only a few moments of personal reflection.
So what’s with the “so”? The so brings us back to the grace of giving Paul speaks of in the command. For this grace of giving in which we are to excel finds its source in God’s grace: God’s grace to us through his gift of Jesus; God’s grace in us fueling our joyful response of generosity for the grace received; and God’s grace through us extended to others in acts of human generosity.
May God’s grace to us, in us and through us yield fruit that results in His glory and also in His kingdom come to new people and places.
Elder, Stewardship Subcommittee
COMING SOON: Read our 2017 Annual Report here, including a look forward at what's ahead for 2018.
Our challenge now is to meet the call set before us. We remember God’s faithfulness this past year, and the many years before, and we look forward to this next year. Please be in prayer for the Lord’s leading as to how you will support Third’s ministry in 2018. Our prayer is that each gift—no matter the size—will sustain and increase Third’s ministry and mission.
"So the 'grace of giving' is about God’s grace TO us, God’s grace IN us, and God’s grace THROUGH us. The gospel of grace acts as a powerful engine in our souls as we receive grace, experience grace, and then extend grace to others. Grace begets grace. Generosity begets generosity."