“Grace” is one of the most common words Paul used in his letters. Our common understanding of the word as something that we do not deserve might be confusing in this text because Paul was asking for something to be done through the Corinthians not for them.
Paul told the community that God gave ‘this grace’ to the churches in Macedonia? By calling the Macedonia church’s gifts an act of grace, Paul reveals his understanding of the grace of God. He believed that under the influence and impulse from God, the community gave money with almost reckless generosity. They were dirt poor, and had suffered serious persecution; but their devotion to their faith and to Paul’s ministry compelled them to give over and above what they could even afford.
Paul declared that such an act of reckless generosity from the Macedonians could not be attributed to anything else but to God’s grace. He challenged the Corinthian community to follow such an noble example even as they had began to through Titus. May this act of reckless generosity be lived out in our churches during these difficult economic times in 2009. Just remember that your generous giving could be referred to as an “act of grace.” We will pick up on “grace” in the next post.