In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul deals extensively with what it means to practice grace giving. In fact, in these two chapters alone, the word "grace" is mentioned six times.
We learn from these chapters that grace giving is God-honoring. When everything is going well in your life and you give God the crumbs, you are not honoring God. But when everything is blowing up in your face and you give to God sacrificially, you honor God—something He will never forget. Problems are a part of living, but don't use problems as an excuse to not practice generosity.
They had joy in the fact that God's grace was poured out upon them.
It is because of the grace that we have freely received that we can be sympathetic with other people's trials. Our trials give us the ability to minister to others with compassion.
That is the difference the grace of God makes, and that is why the apostle Paul writes, "In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity" (2 Corinthians 8:2).
What did they have to be joyful about when they were in the midst of severe trials? Well, they had joy in the fact that God's grace was poured out upon them. That is truly enough to make you joyful until you close your eyes in death. They had joy in the fact that they had been brought by God out of darkness and into light and that they were on their way to eternity in heaven.
Prayer: God, I pray that I would honor You as I practice grace giving. When I am in the midst of trials, help me to remember that, because Your grace has been poured out on me, I have a reason to be joyful. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity" (2 Corinthians 8:2).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series The Awesomeness of God's Grace: LISTEN NOW