Excel in the grace of giving
OUR CONNECTION MATTERS
At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. (2 Corinthians 8:14, NIV)
In the eighth chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul is writing about generosity and sacrificial giving. The Macedonians, who were described as being “in the midst of a very severe trial,” gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability. Paul encourages the Corinthians to “excel in this grace of giving” so that there might be equality, the kind of equality that means that when I have more than I need, I share so that you might have what you need, and vice versa. We demonstrate our love and care for others by sharing what God has given to us.
Recently, six of us from the South Georgia Conference traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where we explored ways to be partners in ministry with the North Katanga Annual Conference. While there we had multiple opportunities to see the outcome of persons who live by Paul’s instructions to excel in the grace of giving. We attended the ribbon cutting at a new hospital that was funded by the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). We attended the ribbon cutting at a medical clinic that was also funded by GBGM. We visited a hospital that was being renovated, again with funds from GBGM. We flew on a medical missionary plane funded by another conference. We visited a farm that is being developed by the North Katanga Conference to teach people farming techniques and how to raise crops that provide nutritious food to their families. The director of the farm is a missionary who is there because of GBGM. Since we’ve been back, we’ve seen pictures on Facebook showing the solar panels being placed on the roof of the instructional building at the conference farm. GBGM funded the solar panels and batteries for the farm. They will now have electricity for their classrooms.
The people who will have access to health care without having to travel hours are grateful that people halfway around the world practice the grace of giving. The people who will learn how to grow nutritious food to feed their families are grateful for the people who practice the grace of giving. Thank you for the grace of giving that allows you and your congregation to contribute to this work through the payment of apportionments. Thank you for caring enough to share what God has given you with those who have needs.
Paul writes that the giving flows both ways. Where we have plenty, we share with those who have need. And where we have need, those with plenty share with us. It’s easy to think that the grace of giving flows only one way between the South Georgia Conference and the North Katanga Conference. It’s easy to think that the giving flows from us to them. I pray that’s not the case. Where they have plenty, we have need. They have amazing faith despite abject poverty. They worship in churches built with bricks they made themselves. They worship in churches without complete roofs and with dirt floors. They praise God for all that he has given them, they sing, and they pray. And their churches are packed – tiny buildings with more than 300 in worship and growing every week.
In the coming months, we will be considering the ways we can join the people of the North Katanga Conference in ministry. That ministry will flow both ways. We can partner with them to build buildings and expand ministries. They can partner with us to build congregations filled with exuberant, joyful disciples. Abundance is shared through the grace of giving. Thank you to all who give!
Dr. Nita Crump serves as Director of Connectional Ministries. Contact her at email@example.com.