I’m too lazy to come up with a deep and/ or funny intro for this one guys.
I’m sorry lol.
Good news is the Bible literally speaks for itself!!
Aaaaaand now I’m going to shut up and let the scriptures do the teaching:
1. You Don’t Need Much
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 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
2 Corinthians 8:1-2 ESV
Let’s pay close attention to this verse.
It was during a severe test of affliction and extreme poverty by which the churches of Macedonia were motivated to help one another.
The statements “severe test of affliction” and “abundance of joy” literally sit in the same sentence. Scripture says they overflowed in an abundant act of generosity even in their extreme poverty.
People who have little are often much far more generous than those who have plenty.
This was clearly a demonstration of the power of God’s grace through the Macedonian churches. Despite their afflictions, they were eager to supply for one another.
Before jumping to the next few verses, I want us to really rest on the fact that these individuals didn’t have much to offer, but they still offered abundantly.
It’s important to remember that offering money is not the only way we can give to one another. There are other practical needs which often carry much more value than a wad of cash.
Let’s not wait until we have “that income” or “that job” before we desire to partake in being generous with those in the church.
2. Be Eager, Not Compulsed
3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—
2 Corinthians 8:3-4 ESV
According to this passage, no one amongst the churches of Macedonia was ever forced into giving anything. They all rather gave out of their own accord (freely, willingly).
Freely giving is one thing…but earnestly begging to take part in the relief of the saints?
Like, people were BEGGING to give , lool I don’t know that site just throws me off.
I’m just picturing a bunch of people lined up in front of a Walmart rushing into the store to purchase products to all give away. Kinda like a give away black Friday typa feel.
Moreover, they gave intentionally to meet a need. The scripture above tells us that they gave in order to partake in the “relief of the saints” (i.e., giving to those i special need or difficulty).
Ironically, I can recall the moments in my childhood when I grudgingly gave away chunks of my allowance as my parents made attempts to teach me lessons about giving.
That was Beyblade, McDonalds and KFC money.
But all jokes aside, many times even as adults, we find ourselves giving out of compulsion or even regret especially in the church setting.
The believers in Macedonia truly challenge such an attitude.
If we are not willing to give with a joyful heart and out of our own accord, we should not give at all.
7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:3 ESV
3. Giving What we don’t Have?
Having said all this, Paul offers some very practical words of wisdom to the Corinthian church in regards to giving.
11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
2 Corinthians 8:11-15 ESV
Paul essentially encourages the people to not give what they don’t have.
Let’s use a very simple example.
- Bob needs $100.
- Janet has $50 to her name.
- Neither of them are working
Solution A: Janet gives $50 to Bob in order to help him meet his needs
Solution B: Janet gives $50 to Bob and takes a $50 loan from the bank to fully relief Bob of his needs.
In both cases, Janet is generous, however Janet is being unwise in Solution B.
We see a similar example of this in Mark 12:41-44 when a poor widow gave everything that she had to live on. She did not give what she did not own.
So to put in a very practical sense, be wise not to go in debt when you participate in the gracious act of giving.
4. Don’t Count Yourself Out
……But if we’re being honest many of us probably won’t struggle with this issue of giving something we don’t have lool (point #3 above).
Seeing this generation for what it really is, many of us are often more concerned with our own needs before considering others.
We can have an amazing Pastor who accurately interprets the word of God…
An anointed worship team dedicated to their ministry…
Faithful church members and an amazing church facility.
In the midst of all this,
If one member of the church has plenty and another is questioning where their next meal will come from..
We have a problem.
Yes, it’s important for us to grow in faith, speech, knowledge and all other areas concerning our personal walk with Christ.
However let’s not exempt ourselves from the act of giving, making assumptions that it will be done by someone else.
7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also
2 Corinthians 8:7
Soli Deo Gloria