2 Cor. 8:Vs. 1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,
Vs. 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.
Vs. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,
Vs. 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—
Vs. 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
Paul is asking the Corinthian church to be generous and give toward his mission and the spreading of the Gospel.
He wants them to know the generosity of other churches, especially churches that are enduring tests and afflictions.
Paul let’s the Corinthian church know that their generosity is a direct result and response to understanding of the grace of God.
There are several levels of “giving” going on here.
First, “the grace of God has been given”.
Then, “they gave themselves to the Lord”.
Finally, “by the will of God, they gave to us”.
The physical, tangible giving was last.
This is the proper order for all truly “Christian generosity”.
I received God’s grace as a gift.
In overwhelming gratitude, I submit to Jesus as Lord and sovereign over my entire self.
As a result, an overflowing takes place of using whatever God has gifted me with for the sake of others.
If I get this sequence wrong, sin is inevitable.
I’ll treat giving as a form of contract, even a social one.
I’ll give, but I’ll expect something in return.
Or I’ll become judgmental of the recipient of my giving, forgetting the grace given to myself.
Or I’ll hold back, keeping a clenched grip on finances because I want something for myself.
But a miracle happens when we understand the “proper giving order”.
I trade my kingdom for another.
Paul says about the Macedonians, they “begged us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints”.
Do I get this?!
They “begged” to “give”!!
The only time anyone ever “begs” is to “receive”. Right?
Not so, the Christian!
Again, we … I am to look different from all the world.
I am to be eager to give.
I should be joyful to give.
Because God was “joyful” to give everything for me.
(“For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross …”)
Thank you again Father for your Word!
Help me Holy Spirit to live out these verses.
Help me to not only have right desires, but the courage to act fully in them.
In Jesus name, Amen.
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