The Grace of Giving

Dear Starmount Friends,
As we continue through this season of stewardship in the life of the church, it is certainly helpful for us to ponder Biblical examples of financial giving.  In 2 Corinthians 8 we find Paul in the midst of a stewardship campaign.  It seems that in the effort he uses some of the same methods that we do here at Starmount.  In the beginning of this chapter he gives a kind of “Moment for Mission” in which he describes the generosity of the churches of Macedonia.  He explains that even though they have experienced both an abundance of joy and severe trials, they have responded to God’s grace with a “wealth of generosity.”  Verse 4 describes their passion towards this effort, saying that the Macedonian congregations, “urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.”
Paul uses this example of Macedonia’s generosity to encourage the Corinthian church in their giving.  He encourages them in verse 7, “Just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us – see that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
“Grace of giving” – that is at least how the NIV version of the New Testament translates that phrase.  There is something remarkable about it.  Many times during stewardship campaigns, our focus lies on raising money.  We talk about shrinking budgets and growing expenses.  While this is certainly important information for a congregation to be aware of, there is another side to the coin of stewardship, and it is captured by this phrase in our scripture.
Giving is a spiritual practice.  Just the same as attending worship, spending time in prayer, lifting our voices in music, or studying the scriptures.  The regular rhythm of giving allows us the opportunity to express our gratitude to God for our many blessings.  It is a reminder that all we have and all we are is a gift from God.  We are but stewards and caretakers of all that God has given us.  Therefore, each time we share of resources through financial giving, we are able to experience the “grace of giving.”
In Christ,
Charlie Lee

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