And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
Thoughts for Today:I want to call your attention to a very important thought Paul conveys in this first verse of Chapter Eight that sets the tone for what will follow: "Égrace that God has given the Macedonian churches." Paul is calling giving a grace. In other words, giving is a nature or character trait given to us by God. Paul is saying the Macedonians have that kind of grace and he wants the Corinthians to know all about it -- because they can have it as well.
The Macedonians' generosity in giving was a result of the grace of God. Most of us have been taught that grace is the "unearned and merited favor of God". Unfortunately, what's lost in that definition is the critical element of God's extraordinary generosity towards us. Those who truly understand and experience the full implications of God's love can't help but be generous themselves. (1 John 3:17: "If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?")
Questions to Ponder:I think some people have the idea that God is poor, and therefore needs our gifts. He isn't and He doesn't. God is not in NEED of anything. (Psalm 50:10-12: "For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.") We need Him -- His love, forgiveness, grace and extraordinary generosity. Has He changed the way you give since you came to know him?