In our ongoing series this month on Stewardship, today we look at the attitude of stewardship. Paul uses the term eager, or zeal or enthusiasm. 

A Happy giver, knowing what was given to us by the grace of God.

What shall I render to the Lord for all the benefits to me, I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call on the name of the Lord. I will take my cup of salvations and will call on the name of the Lord. I pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the Lords house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem. 

Show of hands is this the offertory we sing after our collection? Or is it sections of the Psalm116 ?

This is a thankful giver to our Lord!

When Paul addressed the matter of giving to the Corinthian church in his second letter to them, he did so with model tact. What he did is, he cited the remarkable giving of their sister churches in Macedonia. And his words are ever so gentle and beautiful. 

Verse 1 "And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given to the Macedonian churches." Now, the grace that he's talking about, and of course it's defined by the context, is the grace of giving—the inclination, because of God's grace, to graciously pour out what one has to God and to others in giving.

 

 

 

                                                                           Page 2

 In other words, God's grace has been poured into them and so they responded in kind by their giving. And that is what this section is all about. It is a matter of the grace of giving from beginning to end.

It's all grace. In fact, the Greek word for grace occurs ten times in chapters eight and nine. In fact, in the first nine verses it occurs five times. I'd like you to take note of that because I want you to see how the whole thing rides on the matter of grace.

  1. Verse 1 speaks of "the grace."
  2. The word "privilege" in verse 4 is actually the word "grace."
  3. Verse 6: "this act of grace."
  4. Verse 7: "so that you also excel in this grace of giving."
  5. And verse 9: "For you know the grace."

Now the faith community in Jerusalem became poor because of war, famine, and persecution. Under Tiberius, heavy taxation they must pay. Most of them were poor when embraced Christianity. Jesus mission was “to preach the Gospel to the Poor” (Luke 4:18).

The past several weeks we had the over riding them of Steward buy the underlying theme is our own motivation. Our own deep relationship with Jesus Christ. 

It starts there your own perception of who God is in your daily life. Do you see his blessings in your life as you look back and also looking forward? Do you have that sense of awe and wonder when you think about Jesus? Do you?

Its your own perception as to how you respond to Stewardship as a sense of obligation or feeling of excitement to serve a role at church? To give with joy what you give weekly in your tithing.

We here at Risen Christ are blessed with many cheerful givers. During this past summer we saw many step up to help our church and for this we are blessed! 

                                                                     Page 3

But this term Stewardship is so much more than just talking about giving money. It is your heart telling your mind at how much you are in love with our creator. 

It is said that “money talks.” That may be true, but it doesn’t speak the language of love. True gifts are those that communicate more than just a financial transaction. To speak such profound and world-altering things, gifts must include something more; they must include something of ourselves. 

In our text, Paul appeals to the wealthy (but worldly) Corinthian church to provide for the relief of the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem. A worthy cause, yet Paul does not appeal to worldly motivations. He does not puff them up with soft words about their magnificence, nor does he pile guilt on them (perhaps by means of a sermon on stewardship) until they pull out their checkbooks. Instead, he appeals to a gift they have been given. 

The Corinthians have received God’s grace, His unmerited favor, in Jesus Christ. God has given nothing short of himself by sending his one and only Son. This grace, Paul says, is known in full, but also is to be sought and experienced each day. This comes as they do what God has done for them: giving gifts that are more than their checkbook. Giving all of themselves. 

The same is true for us. As we communicate God’s grace, so we experience it. Are you wondering what it looks like to know more of God’s grace? 

Grace not what we say before our meal or your Aunt on your mom’s side!

( Christmas Vacation )

 

 

                                                                     Page 4

A Picture of Grace (v. 1-5)

Paul begins by relaying what God’s grace has done among the Christians in Macedonia. Miraculously, out of affliction, the Macedonians know an “abundance of joy.” From extreme poverty, there has come “a wealth of generosity.” They have given beyond their means, pledging not just residual income they have scraped together, but all of themselves to their brothers and sisters. Perhaps most amazing of all, the Macedonians have begged Paul for this privilege.

Paul’s point is to show the Corinthians what God has done. Only divine operation can bring joy out of affliction and wealth from poverty. This wealth cannot be primarily financial, but wealth of a higher order: a wealth of joy and love. God’s grace has opened selfish, sinful hearts.

This should not surprise us. Paul reminds the Corinthians what they “know.” In Jesus’ poverty there came great riches for them. This cannot mean that Jesus did his ministry by writing checks. He granted the true riches of knowing God and enjoying Him. He brought nothing short of salvation.

A Prodding to Grace (v. 6-12)

So, Paul says, the Corinthians should know this same grace in their own lives by giving of themselves. In their gift they both communicate the grace of God and experience it! The Corinthians can “prove” God’s operation in their own hearts because they are showing the results of God’s work in the hearts of his people.

 

 

 

                                                                     Page 5

The Payoff of Grace (v. 13-15)

The result of Christians living this way is nothing short of astounding. Paul alludes to God’s miracle of manna in the wilderness (Exod. 16). Not only did God supply what the Israelites needed to live, but their supplies were always precisely right amount. It didn’t matter who was the stronger manna collector or who could estimate portion size the best. God gave to all what they needed, and their thanksgiving and love was always directed back to God.

This is how God operates in the Christian community. 

How does God operate in your life? We do not wake up a go into your the back yard each morning for your daily supply of Manna! We do not have free food but we have been given the same amount of life saving grace in our talents that allow us to make a living for your self and your family. Your own history of past storms that he has saved you from. He is your safe harbor every day of your life.

1. Why do you give? We often demand many things in return for our gifts: control, respect, an “insider” status, etc. How can we be motivated less by our own greatness and more by God’s greatness? Share examples of when giving has been met with a knowledge of God’s grace and mercy.

2. What resources may you be holding back to help some that needs your time and presence. Someone who is so lonely in our nursing homes these days. Call them send them a greeting card. Your neighbor who can’t mow there grass, or rake their leaves take time to be a loving neighbor or friend. The examples of God goodness go on and on.

3. Discuss how we need the people that we serve. Share of times when your needs have been met by those of less worldly means. How does this testify to God’s provision?

                                                                           Page 6

Think about how Good God has been to you and your family. Give your time and what resources you have been given by God.

In Jesus Name …Amen!