“Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:10–15)
I grew up in economically challenging times …relatively speaking. I had plenty to eat each day and shelter to protect me from midwestern winters. Imagine a Sudanese father longing to provide food and shelter from the heat for his own son but unable to do so. America has been blessed with many charitable organizations whose purpose it is to relieve distress and hunger at every turn. Every need we can think of is provided for those humble enough to accept it.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
However, as noble as these causes are, if they do not provide for eternal and temporal needs, then they fail to demonstrate true compassion and grace. Christians would do well to remember this this Christmas season. Temporal gifts are merely describable; eternal gifts are indescribable.
God provides in abundance in this country. Believers ought to pray that God not only supply but multiply material resources in proportion to our willingness to generously give them away. God provides so that we might be generous and compassionate. Thanksgiving is a result of sacrificial, grace-filled giving.
God makes it clear for us: as we provide the needs of our brothers and sisters, many thanksgivings abound to Him (9.12). Serving and supplying for the needs of others glorifies the God who created us (9.13). Our obedience to the Gospel of Christ and our liberal, generous sharing with with those of the household of faith (and even with all men for that matter, see 9.13) provide evidence that the grace of God is with us. Then, our generosity leads to intercession from those for whom we have cared; they long for us because they see the exceeding grace of God in us (9.14). So, 2 Corinthians 9:15 serves as the penultimate statement for God’s plan in grace-giving.
God would certainly want us to support those who would provide relief for the body and the soul of those downtrodden. Better yet we ought to provide for the physical and spiritual relief of others directly. We should do so as evidence of the grace of God working in and through us.
Grace-giving starts in our local churches and is governed by the multitude of godly counselors within them. Good churches are magnanimous churches which relieve the poor, magnify the grace of God, preach the Gospel, and glorify God.
Relieving the Poor
Solomon wrote, “All the brothers of the poor hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him” (Proverbs 19.7). If God chooses to give you wealth, you must become a protector of the poor to be a godly man. You cannot abandon them! If I myself am impoverished, my affliction may separate me from a friend, but it will not separate me from my God! Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Magnifying the Grace of God
Make no mistake! God’s exceeding grace is at work in us strengthening our hands, confirming the needs around us, and providing through us. How true the statement of our Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than it is to receive.” The one who waters is indeed watered abundantly himself. Any sacrifice of love we make becomes a spiritual feast for us. Imagine relieved poor people knocking on Heaven’s door and interceding for us. Do you think that is a small thing in the eyes of God? Just as the blood of the slain cries out for vengeance; even so, the cries of the oppressed are for our blessing. God will hear! Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Preaching the Gospel
We herald the good news that God has given us the gift of His Son, the only begotten One. Christ is the love-gift of the Father. The sacrifice of His life’s blood for our redemption cannot be repaid. Yet as believers, gratitude drives us to try. This truly is what thanksgiving is all about for the believer. Grateful hearts filled with the grace of God are energized to meet the needs of others. It is a wonder that God would allow us this privilege. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
We cannot glorify God in the abstract. We must know what it means and how it happens. A Christian glorifies God by internalizes the character of God communicated to us by His grace. Once this occurs, inward transformation takes place and outward giving abounds. I cannot add anything to the character of God; I can only reflect what is already there. As a believer, I yearn to be a sacrifice pleasing to God. This should be your aim as well. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
This thanksgiving, realize that stewardship of what God has allowed you to have is key in moving forward in your relationship with Him. May God place upon our hearts a burden to tenderly meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ …the needs of all men. We do not say that we can meet every need, but we can meet those God enables us to meet. And we must remember that if we sow sparingly, shall we not also reap sparingly? But if we sow bountifully, we shall also reap bountifully. Blessed are those who learn to give. Blessed are the truly thankful. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!