22 Feb Source, Circumstances, Attitude, Measure – 2/22/21
2 Corinthians 8:2-4 – “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. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints”
Paul here gives the Macedonian church as an example of giving, showing the source, circumstances, attitude, and measure of their giving.
Source: The source was the grace of God (8:1). The Macedonian believers were not just nice people or naturally inclined to give. Rather, God was working grace in their hearts.
Circumstances: They were in a time of hardship and lack of money. It was not a natural time to think: “You know? I should give my money to someone else right now.” But still, they gave.
Attitude: They did not give grudgingly, but joyfully, freely, and eagerly. In fact, despite their circumstances, they were abundant in joy, so much so that it overflowed into their giving. They also gave freely, or of their own accord. They wanted to give, whether they had to or not. Lastly, they gave eagerly. Paul says that they were “begging (him) with much urging for the favor of participation…” (8:4). This is quite the picture! It is almost like they were afraid they would not be allowed to give! How different is that from the reluctance we often have when we give? They were eager for the favor of being able to support the saints. Instead of asking for a favor to receive in their affliction and poverty, they were asking for the favor to give.
Measure: They did not just give their pocket change, but they “overflowed in the wealth of their liberality” and gave “beyond their ability.”
Heavenly Father, may your grace work in our hearts, that we, like the Macedonian believers, may be eager to have the favor of contributing to one another’s needs, that we may do it in the abundance of our joy no matter our circumstances, and that we may have the purity and openness of heart to give freely, for the good of others and the glory of Christ, for His name’s sake. Amen.