Archive for May 1st, 2020

2 Corinthians 8:1-5

In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 Paul writes about the churches of Macedonia and how they have been an example of giving. He points out that they took advantage of the opportunity to give to many in need and did it with a willing heart as well. The churches of Macedonia were in cities such as Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.”

This wasn’t just easy giving on the part of the Macedonian churches. He explains that the Macedonians, though they were in the middle of a great trial of affliction that was testing them severely, pushing them to a place where they were in deep poverty, still gave generously. Paul explains that they gave in two ways:

  1. they gave according to their ability in the sense that in total, their gift wasn’t very much
  2. they gave in proportion to the little they did have, they gave beyond their ability

It wasn’t the amount of the offering that mattered to Paul. Their giving was not large sums of money. It was the heart of the Macedonians to give not only what they could, but beyond what they could afford.

Paul didn’t have to beg the Macedonian churches to give freely. They gave of their own free will and actually begged Paul and his team to receive the gifts they had prepared for them. The church knew the power of giving. “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints – and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” So, though the Macedonian Christians didn’t have much to give, they really wanted to give.  They saw it as a privilege to give.  True Christian generosity can’t be measured by how much one has to give.  Often those who have less are more generous with what they have.

They blew away what Paul had expected and gave far more. What made their giving so spectacular?  It wasn’t the dollar amount.  It was that they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. In giving, the real issue isn’t the money.  It is giving ourselves to the Lord.  If we have really given ourselves to the Lord, then the right kind of giving will naturally follow. The Macedonians first gave themselves to the Lord and that made trusting Paul and his team easy to give money to. They knew that what little they had belonged to God anyway, and they were openhanded with that money and gave it away.

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