Weekly Devotional

WEEK OF June 21, 2021

“Now as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you – so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking…For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”

1 Corinthians 8:7, 9

You probably have heard some version of the story about the chicken and the pig. Both lived on a farm, where the farmer was very good to them, and they wanted to do something for him.

One day the chicken approached the pig and said, “I have a great idea for something we can do for the farmer! Would you like to help?”

The pig, quite intrigued by this, said, “Of course! What is it that you propose?”

The chicken knew how much the farmer enjoyed a good healthy breakfast. He also knew how little time the farmer had to make a good breakfast. “I think the farmer would be very happy if we made him breakfast.”

The pig thought about this. “I’d be happy to help you make breakfast for the farmer! What do you suggest we make?”

The chicken, understanding that he had little else to offer suggested, “I could provide some eggs.”

The pig knew the farmer might want more, “That’s a fine start. What else should we make?”

The chicken looked around…scratched his head…then said, “Ham? The farmer loves ham and eggs!”

The pig, very mindful of what this implied, said, “That’s fine, but while you’re making a contribution, I’m making a total commitment!”

In writing to the church at Corinth, Paul expresses deep appreciation for the way in which the churches of Macedonia had given themselves first to the Lord, and then demonstrated God’s grace in their lives by their sacrificial gifts, even though they were not people of great wealth. Likewise, the Corinthians are encouraged to excel in their generosity, just as they excel “in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness” (v. 7). But what is it that should produce such a spirit of generosity among Christians? In a word, grace.

After placing before the Corinthians an example of the commitment of the Macedonian churches, Paul places before them the ultimate example of commitment in the person of Jesus Christ. While the Greek word charis is translated as “grace” only in verse 1, the word occurs frequently in chapter 8, including Paul’s reference to the sacrifice of Christ. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (v. 9). Committed self-giving to the Lord and to others is at the heart of the Christian faith, because it reflects the grace in which Christ has committed himself fully to us. We are called to live out what the gospel already has accomplished in us.

PrayerLord, remind us that our love for you and for others is marked, not by our contribution, but by our commitment.

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