2 Corinthians 8 is Paul’s plea to the Corinthians to give to the needs of the church. However, his appeal is not rooted in those needs, but in a motivation that is much more significant:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Notice how different this is than typical motivations for generosity. If we are honest with ourselves, why do we normally give?
Control, “for you know your opinion will carry more weight?”
Recognition, “for you know we will put your name on the church?”
Reward, “for you know God will make you even richer?”
Duty, “for you know it’s just the right thing to do?”
Guilt, “for you know you will feel ashamed if you don’t?”
But Paul appeals to none of these. His motivation? “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Grace is his motivation.
And he uses the language of wealth to explain the essence of this grace—a Savior who was rich yet became poor that by His poverty we might become rich. Of course this is not speaking of earthly riches, but of the infinitely more valuable currency of God’s love and favor. Jesus gave up the wealth of heaven for the impoverishment of the cross that we might inherit the riches of God’s favor.
When people become captivated by that matchless story of grace, trite motivational techniques are no longer needed. The gospel innately produces a people who are eager to give as their God has given to them. When grace captures a heart it always overflows into sacrificial giving.
So ironically the news that motivates us to give is that we don’t have to give.
You don’t have to give a penny to God for God to love and accept you. He has already freely given His all to us in the gospel of Jesus, and when that truth is realized and internalized, we will find ourselves compelled to give more than we would be willing to give to buy His favor.
Yes, the needs of TCPC are great and exciting. Yes, we will not be able to meet our goal without your participation. And yes, the glory of Christ and the good of the bluegrass is the most worthy cause you could commit your finances to. And yet, that is not our ultimate persuasion. Ultimately, we are persuaded by this: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, so that we by his poverty might become rich. When that gospel truth captures a community, it will create a community that we are praying for this year.