Apostle Paul refers to giving as a grace, and I have found out that giving is a major key to the operation of grace in our lives. The attitude and stance of being a giver activates grace in the life of a believer. I am talking about the giving that is motivated by the love of God – AGAPE. It is our privilege to give; it delivers us from selfishness. It increases our capacity to receive and develops our confidence in God”s ability to sustain us. The condition for this is if we give as unto the Lord. To glorify God in our giving, He must be our focus as we do it.
In 2 Corinthians 8, from verse 1 we see how the churches of Macedonia gave in response to some needs in other churches as Paul had informed them. This grace of giving was so prevalent amongst them that he said that despite the great trial of affliction, the riches of their liberality revealed the abundance of their joy and the depth of their poverty. I believe they gave because of their joy in spite of their poverty because of the grace of giving. They were freely willing and implored Paul to receive from them with urgency. They gave themselves to God first them to the apostles (Verse 5) by the will of God. Giving ourselves to the Lord is the first step in our flow of this grace. Many believe in Jesus but have not given themselves over to Him. When we give to others without first giving of ourselves to God, we tend to feel manipulated by others.
The role God plays in our lives should be central in all we do. We are instructed in the Word to do all things as unto the Lord and in the name of the Lord. Whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord (Ephesians 6:8). Our reward is from the Lord not from the ones who we give to. Believers should give as unto the Lord and humanism gives without any consideration for the Lord.
The verse 5 we are considering from 2 Corinthians 8 also teaches that it is the will of God to give ourselves to the apostolic leadership that God puts us under and also to make sure we give ourselves by the will of God. If it is not the will of God, we should not give ourselves.
The churches in Corinth are encouraged to abound in the grace of giving. We should too. We see the definition of grace in verse 9. Jesus, who was rich, became poor for our sakes so that we may become rich. He impoverished Himself to enrich us.
THE 3-DIMENSIONAL UNDERSTANDING OF GRACE
To come into a clearer understanding of grace we need to understand it in more than one dimension. Actually many subjects in the New Testament can be better understood in this way. Man is made up of body, soul and spirit. We have faith, hope and love. 30-fold, 60-fold and 100-fold; Outer court, inner court and Holy of Holies. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the Way as the Saviour, and many stay at this level to live out their lives. They never progress to know Him as the Truth. To Him as truth is to allow His Word confront the reality of the true state of our hearts. That can hurt, but will bring about real change in our lives. To know Him as the Life is to “let the life I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God” His life becomes my life. I am one with Him. For me to live is Christ. We need to press on in Him into all the fullness we can get in Christ.
In Titus 2 from verse 11, we see that the Grace that brought salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us to say NO to all ungodliness. We see two dimensions of grace here. The first dimension is that it brings Salvation to us all. We are saved by grace through faith; it is the gift of God. As we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we get saved. We experience the first phase of salvation. The second dimension of grace is that it teaches us how to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly in this present age. The process of this grace teaching can be likened unto knowing Jesus as the Truth.
The third dimension is when we allow Christ to be formed in us and we yield completely to His life. Christ in us is the hope of glory. So now He can do in and through us what He did when He was on earth. We become Sons in the likeness of His person. The Word becomes flesh in us as it was in Him. He is the pattern Son and at the 3rd dimension we become just like He is. If we became rich through His poverty, then we should become poor for others to become rich. Third dimension of grace is when I become a carrier of the Grace myself and give myself completely to others for their own good.
This is true for the Agape love of God also. In the first dimension, He woes us with His love and in the second He compels us to obedience by His love. Finally we become carriers of His love to others. We can now love like Christ loved people. We are drawn to Him, we adjust to His demands then we become like Him in reality because He died to make us Sons like He is.
When I position myself to be a vessel for the Lord, more grace is activated in me. The gifts of the Spirit are called Charismatic because “Charis” means grace in the Greek language. The energy of God called grace is at work in all believers and as we cultivate the lifestyle of giving, according to the will of God, more grace will work in our lives. We need to constantly desire to see others healed and getting on well in life. This stance activates God”s grace in us and His supernatural energy flows through us to meet the needs of others around us.
Giving of ourselves in worship to God; in service for His Kingdom and our time in study of the Word all bring us into grace and more grace to see His will done on earth. Grace and peace come through the knowledge of our Lord Jesus. Give of your gifts to bless others and watch yourself grow in Christ. Giving is indeed the key to everything. If offended, for-give and tear up the I-owe-you. Give of your finances to God through tithes and freewill offerings and through any other avenue God opens up to you. Give to the poor and seek for more opportunities to give to bless others. Givers usually experience God”s favour, increase and unusual miracles of provision and abundance.
Giving is a manifestation of grace and it leads to more grace. If you want more of God in your life, give more of yourself to Him. Remember to always give yourself first to God then to His servants in your life. Some one said, “Generosity is when you give what you need”.
Benefits of Giving as unto the Lord, with a right motive:
It delivers you from selfishness;
It breaks your dependence on the natural things you can see, touch and taste;
It stirs up the joy of giving as you see others enriched;
It enlarges your capacity to receive from the Lord through others;
You lay up treasures in heaven for the time to come;
Your giving today enriches your future;
Giving positions you for more grace from God so you do more for His Kingdom and He can do more through you.
It is time to let your faith grow as you release it through your words to do more for the Kingdom of God, to give more to Him in your time, talent and treasure. If God so loved that He gave and His giving released grace to us, our loving giving will release more grace too. After all we were made in His image. Letting the nature of Christ to be formed in us is a wonderful opportunity to enrich our lives and the lives of people around us. He still wants to see His image and likeness walking around the earth that He made. The ball is in our courts to start the flow of grace by giving and receiving to give more until all the earth will be filled with His glory.
May His grace abound toward you that you, having all sufficiency in all things will abound to every good work. Go ahead and be a carrier of His grace and love. May the good Lord bless and keep you. Amen.
– Rev. Kola Ewuosho