II Corinthians 8:1-15 February 20, 2016 (High School Class)
God’s grace just changes everything. This story uses a giving event to show off the power of God’s grace. This is not rich churches giving to poor churches, as we would expect should happen, but really poor churches giving to other poor churches. The churches of Macedonia are giving liberally to the churches of Jerusalem to help them out in their time of need but they themselves (Macedonian churches) are described as people in deep poverty. Some exciting highlights of this story are that their affliction should have brought pain, yet they were joyful. Their deep poverty should have been a reasonable excuse for them to ignore the offering plates when they passed, yet they begged Paul to receive their offering. So how was all this possible? Because grace writes exciting stories out of hopeless situations.
Jesus gave first. II Corinthians 8:9 says that Jesus (who was truly rich) made Himself poor so that we could be rich. The believers at Macedonia then gave themselves back to Jesus (II Corinthians 8:5) then to all other believers. This is how the grace of God guides the story and changes all the rules. The pain of my affliction is now swallowed up in joy, and my poverty is no match for my generosity. I have my own abilities plus all of the grace of God at my disposal! Our teenagers should not go it alone and try to write some story themselves, or worse, let a lost world write it for them. The grace of God changes everything and the next big thing that God wants to do includes our young people and us. They should see the work of grace in us and hear our exciting stories of how it changes everything.