2 Corinthians 7:2-8:7
We may face difficult circumstances. We may experience much suffering. In all of this there is one thing we must never forget: ‘God… comforts the downcast’(7:6). He lifts us up when we are down. He enables us to ‘excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, in love, in giving’(8:7). How are we to excel in everything? We must ‘give ourselves to the Lord’(8:5). Everything else flows from this. We are to ‘give ourselves in devoted service to others’(12; 8:4-5). Where does this spirit of ‘rich generosity’ come from? It comes from God, from ‘the grace that God has given’ to us (8:1-2). It comes to us as we give ourselves to Him. Before we can ‘excel in this grace of giving’, we must receive ‘from His fullness, grace upon grace’(8:7; John 1:16).
2 Corinthians 8:8-9:15
How are we to be ‘cheerful’ in giving ourselves to the Lord (9:7)? How are we to be confident that ‘God is able to provide us with every blessing in abundance’(9:8)? Before we ever think of giving ourselves to God, we must look at all He has given to us. We look away from ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘You know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…’(8:9). We look at Him and we say, in our hearts, ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’(9:15). Can our giving to Him even begin to compare with His giving to us? We give to Him as those who have first received from Him. In his giving, we see His love. Our giving expresses our love, our response to His love: ‘We love because He first loved us’(1 John 4:19). Rejoice in His love. Thank Him – for ‘every blessing in abundance’!