Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
TITHE GIVING SUNDAY
Verse: You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 1 Thessalonians 1: 6,7
The apostle Paul's second missionary journey included a visit to the prominent Greek city of Thessalonica, and established groups of new believers there (Acts 17:1–4). That success was not without hardship, as Paul experienced significant backlash from the people of that region, most especially from Jewish critics (Acts 17:5–9). Despite suffering persecution and trials, it seems that the church in Thessalonica flourished. In this, his first letter to the Christians of Thessalonica, Paul seems thrilled to hear good news about their growth. These believers are not only thriving, spiritually, but they are also working hard to spread the gospel to the rest of the world.
The new church made such an impact, not only in that city but also in the surrounding region, that people reported back to Paul the dramatic changes that had happened to these believers (1 Thess. 1:7-9). It was not a perfect church, but it is the only church in the New Testament of which Paul speaks as a positive example for other churches (1 Thess. 1:7).
The Christians at Thessalonica had spread their love for their fellow believers throughout the province of Macedonia (1 Thess 1:2–10). Their fellow believers lived in Philippi, Berea, and perhaps in other Macedonian cities as well. According to 2 Corinthians 8:1–5, the churches in Macedonia, which would have included the Thessalonian church, contributed selflessly to the relief of distressed Jewish Christians in Judea. So the Thessalonian believers' love had spread as far as Judea. Nevertheless, Paul exhorted the believers at Thessalonica to keep on increasing their love (1 Thess 4:1), and here he encourages them in much the same way.
The act of giving generously to the Lord is encouraged in 2 Corinthians 8. Paul gives a financial report of how the Macedonian churches, which included the church at Thessalonica, had responded to the grace of God by giving generously to the relief of the needy believers in Judea. They had given out of their extreme poverty and did so beyond their means, but more importantly, they had first given themselves to the Lord.
The God that we hear about in the Bible is a generous God. God is not stingy but gives us what we could not get through our own means. The word that captures God’s generosity is grace. Grace means that we receive what we do not deserve. The God of the universe, who owns everything makes us partakers of His treasures through the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus (Romans 5:10)
And it is because God is generous that His people, too, become generous. This is what we see in the New Testament record. It is not just the Jerusalem church, but the Antioch church that sends off its best to share the message of Christ with the rest of the known world in Barnabas and Paul (Acts 13:1-3). It is the Thessalonian church whose faith rang out in the known world because of how they lived it out (1 Thess 4:2-10).
God is a generous God, and His generosity – His grace – is contagious within His people too.
Father God, there is nothing that we have that has not been given unto us by You. Please, enable us to give back to the kingdom generously and without any inhibition, in Jesus' name. Amen
Thought for the Day
A Christian can never serve God and Money, but they must learn to serve God with money. - Brian Kluth