At our congregation meeting on March 15, our capital campaign cheerleader, Randy Watts, reminded us (from 2 Corinthians 8) of the churches in Macedonia that gave generously to the church at Jerusalem, which was under persecution. Those first-century Macedonians were under some kind of trial as well. Even so, Paul wrote,
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 8:2)
What odd and contrasting elements for the Macedonians to give out of—not wealth, or even middle-class comfort, but (1) extreme poverty and (2) abundance of joy! What kind of math formula is that? That’s like 2+2=5.
Paul also wrote, “They gave according to their means … and beyond their means, of their own accord” (verse 3). They gave beyond what they could afford … willingly.
And he wrote, “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us” (verse 5). I love that!
Finally, Paul called their giving “an act of grace” (verse 6) and exhorted the Corinthians, “See that you excel in this act of grace also” (verse 7).
So, like the Macedonian Christians, we can give generously out of
- Serious trials
- Extreme poverty
- Great joy
- Willing hearts
- We are giving ourselves—to the Lord and to one another.
- Giving is an act of grace.
- God wants us to excel in this grace.
Lord, thank You for sustaining and rescuing us in our trials. We thank You for the joy that overflows within us at Church of the Apostles. Thank You for the love we have for You and for one another. Would You enable us to excel in this grace of giving? Show each one of us what to give—whether money or something else—and let the resources You have given us flow from willing hearts into this local expression of the Body of Christ to which You have called us. Thank You! In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.