“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
A Lazing Grace
(Please read 2 Corinthians 8:1-7)
It’s a unique subject. Just mentioning it in an informal discussion with other Christians is often like pushing a button marked “Excuses.” The first one to speak may offer a quick analysis of the puny economy. Someone else may speak of unemployment, the outrageous cost of children’s clothing, and the swelling premiums for automobile and health insurance. Before you know it, the discussion has lost its focus. Instead of encouraging one another to be “rich toward God,” as Jesus taught, we have just highlighted alibis for being poor when it comes to contributing to the church.
The cost of living does seem to go up faster than many incomes do, but giving is still a grace which we must cultivate. The Corinthians, to whom our text was written, must have been a lot like today’s Christians – more willing to work on the intangibles such as faith, love and knowledge than to face a monetary cost of discipleship. Most of us have heard numerous sermons on “Christian graces,” usually based on 2 Peter 1:5-9, but we seem to prefer sermons that don’t get too specific on this grace that Paul discusses in our text. So we are, generally speaking, not generally speaking on giving.
Let’s not let this grace just laze away and die from misuse. On the contrary, with the kind of balance and generosity Paul wrote about in our text, we will be armed for the practical needs of Christianity — benevolence, missionary work and all the rest — to support and extend the faith and love and knowledge that we so greatly desire to share with the world.