Giving with Joy
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. (2 Corinthians 8:1-4)
Paul wrote this text to the church of Corinth, teaching them by using the example of the churches in Macedonia. The Macedonian Christians caught his teaching about giving and receiving, which changed their lives and behavior.
It tells us here that the church who gave so much was in the middle of a great trial of affliction. What type of affliction was this? The area was going through economic hardships. The territory of Macedonia was no longer the incredibly wealthy area they were several years before. Paul said they were in deep poverty, which means down-to-the-depth poverty.
Despite their poverty, the Macedonian Christians gave liberally with an abundance of joy. The Macedonians did not give just as much as they were able. Instead, they gave far beyond what would have been expected of them. Paul even noted that they insisted that he receive the gift, which tells us that he may have had an initial bit of hesitance knowing their financial situation.
Why were they so generous, so joyful, and persistent to give liberally when their situation was dire? Fellowship. They understood Paul's teaching on fellowship, and they expected a return and reward. They would reap a harvest from the successes of Paul’s missionary work. God credited them for every soul saved.
Practical Application – Where do you support world missions? Take a moment to look at the last update of those you support have given and celebrate. Those souls will be accounted not only to missionaries who go but also to those who stay home and sow.
Matthew 6:33; Luke 6:38