Monday after the Ninth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:1-24 (NKJV)
1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also.
8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, 20 avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us—21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.
The grace of God has provided for us salvation in Jesus Christ. We say that we are saved by grace through faith, and that is true! St. Paul reminds us that God’s grace is not done working. The grace that sent us His Son is also the grace that worked faith in our hearts so that we believe. That same grace continues to work in us so that we desire to love our neighbor. That same grace is moving us to help those who are less fortunate.
St. Paul speaks of “the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.” St. Paul is sending Titus so that the Macedonians who had determined to give a gift of charity would “complete this grace.” Finally, he says, “see that you abound in this grace also.” The saving grace of God which had enriched the Corinthians in so many ways—faith, speech, knowledge, diligence, and love—was now moving them to make good on their desire to help the other Christians in Jerusalem.
God is working in us as well. The God of grace, Whose Son provided for us an external righteousness by which we are saved, is now working in us to bring forth in us an abundance of the gifts of grace. His grace is not only creating new desires in us, but it is also leading us to act upon these desires. His grace reaches its intended completion when it brings forth abundant fruits.
We pray: O Lord, may Your Son’s lavish gift of salvation lead us to give of our abundance according to Your grace. Amen.