And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)
In a recent study of the book of Ephesians, I have found it very interesting how many times Paul uses the words grace or gift in the first 8 verses of chapter 3. The grace of God allowed the Gentiles to become fellow heirs and members of the Body of Christ, and that same grace enabled Paul to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to them. He humbly viewed his calling and ministry as a great privilege, a gift of God’s grace, not based upon any merit or worthiness of his own. He also recognized that he was dependent upon the effective working of God’s power in carrying out this ministry.
I began to think about how I view the ministry opportunities that God has given to me. How often do I truly think of them as gifts of His grace? Am I relying upon Him by His grace to do His work through me? His grace is both the source of these opportunities and the means by which they are carried out. 2 Cor. 9:8 tells us that His grace is given to us in abundance. It is wholly available at all times that we might abound in every good work through His complete sufficiency – from a Greek word that Strong defines as “a condition of life in which no aid or support is needed” or “a mind contented with its lot.”
This word translated here as “sufficiency” happens to come from the same Greek root as the word usually translated “content” in Phil. 4:11 (“…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content”). Because Paul had learned that God’s grace was sufficient for him no matter what his circumstances, he had learned the secret of being content. Recognizing every set of circumstances we find ourselves in as God’s gracious gift to us, rather than something that we deserve, and choosing to express thankfulness to Him for it, regardless of how we feel, is the first step towards being truly joyful and content in any situation! It is not the situation itself that determines whether we will be content, but our attitude towards it. God’s sufficiency is granted to His children already through His Son, by the working of His Spirit, so that we lack nothing. Contentment, however, is a choice that we must make in response to the reality of God’s sufficient grace. Or, as one preacher once put it, “sufficiency is God’s supply; contentment is my reply.” So will I choose today to focus on God’s gracious sufficiency in every situation and thereby experience the fullness of His joy as I walk in grateful dependence upon Him? The bigger my view of Him and His sufficiency, and the more aware I am of my own unworthiness, the more humbly grateful I will be for His grace day by day and, as a result, the more joyful I will be, regardless of the circumstances!
I was made a servant of this Gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power. (Eph. 3:7)
And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)