Steve Saint son of the Ecuador-martyr Nate Saint (who died with Jim Elliot in the 1950s) reflected that the death of his father was only explainable by divine intervention. It should not have happened and yet it did, and so sprang forth great progress for God's gospel among the Auca people.
When Paul went to Macedonia (Philippi?) very little should have happened in terms of his vision to collect money to relief the suffering of the churches of Judea. The Macedonians themselves were in extreme poverty. And yet, so great was their abundant joy in the gospel that they pleaded to be able to share in the grace of giving. And then they gave beyond their means, going hungry to meet the needs of others. They showed a wreckless disregard for their own well being. They went without basics like food so they could give to others in need. It should not have happened.
And yet Paul tells the story. It did happen - 2 Corinthians 8v1-5. Why tell the story? To highlight the outstanding charity of the Macedonians? No - because, v1, Paul saw the grace of God in their lives. He surveyed the scene and was able to identify the gracious work of God in their lives by it's fruit. He couldn't help himself but to see it! The gushing river of grace flowing in a people in extreme poverty to give them such joy and contentment and satisfaction with Jesus that they could consider their money not worth holding onto. It was thoroughly remarkable then, and it would be today. Grace isn't ordinary.
When I read this story (and prepare to preach it in a few days) I yearn to have gospel eyes. Eyes that see the gospel at work in peoples lives. We tell our Relay to encourage the good wherever they find it. The good - the grace of God! Evident all over the place - God's fingerprints will always be there in God's people as they overflow in abundant joy and rich generosity - let those be the mark of my life, let the grace of God be so evident in me and in the students of the South West. And Lord, let me see it and let me live it.