Posted by Tom Woodworth
Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God
in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia.
They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor.
But they are also filled with abundant joy,
which has overflowed in rich generosity. (2 Corinthians 8:1-2)
We all know well the story of the famous widow and her two copper coins (or MITES in King James language). Jesus testified that she put in “all she had.” Put yourself in that woman’s sandals: can you imagine donating an entire paycheck to the church. Or, emptying your savings account into the offering basket? It’s a radical example of generosity, but in our era, it isn’t hard to imagine that generosity being condemned for foolishness. The New Testament gives another example, the Macedonian church. Consider an entire congregation who, each one, came forth with their copper coins: “In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.” (2 Cor. 8:2) Troubled, destitute, and . . . generous?
When I think of the widow or the Macedonian believers, I often ask myself, “What would motivate such generosity?” In verse 5, Paul explains that these people “gave themselves first to the Lord.” Before giving of possessions, they gave their SELVES to Him; newly, freshly, aware of His presence now, His blessing and protection in the past, and His assurance of the future. Their generosity was possible because they first experienced overwhelming joy in fully offering their lives to Christ.
Questions to Consider
- Am I daily offering my life as a living sacrifice to God?
- Am I asking God for more of His joy which is available to me because of Christ?