23 Feb Poor and Persecuted – 2/23/21
2 Corinthians 8:5-6 – “And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part.”
Paul, speaking on the generosity of the Macedonians, was not expecting much. They were not wealthy people. And at the time, their churches (Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea) were facing severe trial. While poor and persecuted, the Macedonians’ liberality had reached the limit of their power. Certainly, God’s grace was the source of their generosity, thus surpassing their power. Our gifts are not to be measured by their amount, but by the surplus kept in our own hand. The Macedonians far exceeded Paul’s expectations first by what they gave, not by how much they gave: “They gave themselves first”. This is significant, and by far the best donation. These people are an example to us. Their dedications to the Lord and His church reap the satisfaction of completing His will, the joy in fellowship, and the opportunity to help those in need. The greatest works of the world are not done by great people, with great amounts to offer; but as the tiniest creatures, patiently at work and unseen, produce the greatest results. God, in all of His glorious mystery, has an innate ability to use the weak, the tried…the poor and persecuted.
Lord, I pray that Citylight Church can be a body of believers that give ourselves first. I pray that we give our hearts to the advancement of your Kingdom; first with our time, our talents, and then our treasures. We recognize that anything that we consider good first comes from you, and we praise you. Oh, how we praise you. As the Macedonians gave themselves as their best, you, yourself are our greatest gift over any of your provisions. We want to be a body of believers that seek your face before your hand. Please, let your will be done. In your Son’s everlasting name, Amen.