Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us
for the privilege of sharing in this service for the saints.
2 Corinthians 8: 3-4
There is so much packed into this brief passage and in chapter 32 of “Why Give?”.
John Devries points out “”six important concepts that describe God’s glorifying giving. “
All of these concepts are evidence of God’s presence and leading; the work of the Holy Spirit in the Lord’s people.
It takes God to move a mountain and it takes God’s love and grace to fill us each up and soften our hearts, change our attitudes, release our wills to give what we are able, and beyond our own ability!
Point of Grace has always been a church of givers, reaching out to our community; to connect people to God. This past week with the “Gifts of Grace Thanksgiving Baskets”, is just one example of how much we each can do, and how much we all can do together!
It’s not just the staff and a few weary leaders making it all happen, it’s everyone getting involved on some level from praying, and donating, to shopping, organizing and finally to delivering. God’s love and grace was delivered along with each basket to 37 families in our community! Well done, Point of Grace Church!
Plus, there were five basketfuls of food left over that we were able to donate to the Storehouse! So more families were blessed by this outpouring of grace!
I loved Pastor Delton’s message on Sunday that we each have a contribution to make! From the oldest to the youngest, we all have valuable to God and we each have something to contribute in the lives of others, in the working of our church and in reaching out to the community and to the world around us.
This week as so much evil and anger is being talked about in the news, there was a story shared on Facebook, of a 12 year old boy, holding up a sign that says “Free Hugs”. It was during a demonstration for free speech. A police officer noticed the boy and his sign. He called the boy to come over to him and saw that he was crying. The officer talked to the boy for a bit and then asked if he could get a hug. The picture of these two hugging has since gone viral. This is a beautiful example of God’s grace giving. Through one boy, on his own, offering hugs on a busy street filled with demonstrators. He made his contribution! An officer moved with compassion, connected with this boy and made a contribution. Together they told the world that love and peace, is what is needed now.
In the face of hatred and evil, love wins! Caring about each other wins! Helping one another wins! God is love, so God wins!
What spoke to me the most in this passage is that it is a privilege to give. I love giving gifts, I love how good I feel giving the gift, and that it will please the person I am giving the gift to. But, being part of God’s giving grace, is not about me feeling good or about pleasing others (although they are some of the benefits of giving), it’s about being used by God to let his love and grace flow through me to reach others, so that they can also be used by God to let his love and grace flow through them, and so on.
The other concept that stuck out to me was that they “pleaded for the privilege to share in this service”. They received Jesus into their hearts, and this was their response, even in the midst of great trials and persecution. The Holy Spirit was at work in them, as they offered themselves to God, to do whatever he called them to
Today as you read this post, my husband, is traveling to India on a business trip, as well as the opportunity to visit a church, that is needing funds to help build a church building there. He gets to go to one of the poorest areas of the world and will get to witness the joy that John Devries writes about. At this church, is a family, who two years ago were struggling financially and the mother of the family, was needing a C-section to deliver her baby and they could not afford the operation. Through Bill, God’s grace flowed. Through him, God spoke to others, who donated the funds needed for the operation. Now, this family has a beautiful two year old son, who is healthy and strong. God has a plan for that little boy’s life, who will in some way make his contribution and through whom God’s love will flow to others.
God gives us opportunities to make our contributions, he moves us from the inside to have compassion and to reach out and share what he has given to us.
He also inspires us to call out to others and to encourage them to also give what they can to help. Each one giving and doing what he is able. Then God takes their offerings and multiplies it with his love and the power of the Holy Spirit, to go beyond what we can do ourselves. It all comes together in God’s river of love and grace to flow as we each pour in our contributions.
Dear Lord, I ask you to change my heart and mind to be like you, to give myself to you completely and joyfully. Move in me to plead with you for the privilege of serving your love and grace to others. Let your river flow through me! Amen.