Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
RESPONSIBLE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
“Now brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia...”(V.1)
In his letters to the Corinthians the apostle Paul was encouraging them to give to help with the needs of the Jerusalem believers. The believers in Jerusalem were persecuted by the Jews for their faith and had been socially ostracized and excommunicated from the synagogues. Their businesses failed because of the national disinheritance. Paul encouraged the Corinth church to help with this great need in Jerusalem by putting aside a generous gift for the Jerusalem fund. Paul said he will collect those funds when he visited the church in Corinth during his next visit. As an example to the Corinthians, Paul notes that even though the Macedonian churches were not exactly wealthy people, they had heeded his request and they had shown great generosity in their commitment.
The Corinthian believers were faithful, eager to learn the word of God, resourceful, loving and had been spiritually encouraging each other in their newly found faith. So they strived to be an example in giving as well. The lesson that Paul wants us to learn here is that Christian giving is an act of grace.
Paul repeats the word “grace” seven times in the eighth chapter and three times in the ninth chapter. “The grace of God” in classical Greek means something beautiful; strength contrary to weakness; health as the opposite of illness; love as opposed to hate. In the New Testament, the “Grace of God” embodies a whole new life – Grace is affiliated with the incarnation of Jesus Christ, His death, and resurrection. It is in Him we see everything the Greek longed for in beauty, glory, health, power and love. Jesus gave his life to us as a gift by our faith. Paul exhorts “grace” in the context of generous giving as well on the part of believers at Macedonia. It is meant as a gift of thanksgiving. Paul reiterates that giving is an activity of grace because it comes from the heart. You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving. The perfect example of this is depicted in John 3:16.
Is Paul’s exhortation applicable for us today? Yes, indeed… Today, in the US, the Kerala Christians, through their hard work, their family commitment, their utmost faith in Jesus Christ, are enjoying the fruits of their labor, not only from their own efforts, but also by the fulfillment of the faith of their parents and fore-fathers and fore-mothers. Our community is placed at the highest percentile of the annual per capita income in the US now. It’s the Grace of God that enables us to achieve this level of prosperity in such a short duration of time compared to the very many immigrant communities who recently embarked on realizing the same dreams in the US. Remember that the economic resources of our adopted country are enormous, and our children are well placed in earning their livelihood during their working career. This should give us a totally different perspective about our resource management.
Koontz (1980) identifies the following amongst his eleven approaches to the Christian Resource Management -
The Christian Resource Management includes the cooperative social system approach (organizational theory) combines elements of the interpersonal and group behavior approaches into a system called organization where the primary purpose is co-operation.
The notion of Responsible Resource Management, as introduced by the Bible, therefore, centers on stewardship. Central is the Steward, the manager of the household, the one entrusted to administer the master’s property. My fellow believers, the gifts that we have been entrusted, whether it’s your children, your wealth, your education, or the church fellowship, are to be managed with utmost stewardship. We have a responsibility of attaining the best result over these resources God has entrusted with us.
In the grace of giving, there is no pressure on the giver, no public display, no competition. It is honest, open, and transparent and genuinely comes from the heart. The whole letter of Second Corinthians is about ministry, and the grace of giving is another aspect of ministering in the church.
Give Methodically…Give Personally…Give Regularly…Give Confidentially.
Thought for the day:“And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is HE who gives you the power to get wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:18)
Prayer:Father, thank you for all your blessings, thank you for giving me the power to live in abundance. I choose to be faithful to you and Your Word. I beseech your blessing on everything I do, may your Grace be upon me in everything I do. Amen.
Matthew George, Carmel Marthoma Church, Boston, MA