Tuesday, August 23, 2011
“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” (2 Corinthians 8:1,2 KJV).
The churches of Macedonia included the Thessalonians and the Bereans, due north of Corinth. In today’s Scripture, they are noted for their manner of giving donations to the Apostle Paul. As explained in today’s Scripture, the Macedonian believers endured “deep poverty.” They were extremely poor, but they gave in “liberality” (lacking selfishness).
In fact, verses 3 through 5 give us a surprising explanation: “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. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”
The Macedonians knew Paul and his co-laborers in the ministry needed financial support, but the Macedonians wanted to give more than they could afford. Not only that, they were literally begging Paul to take their offerings! (Usually, the preacher begs for money!)
According to verse 5, the Macedonians “first gave their own selves to the Lord.” They submitted to God’s Word working within them, and God’s Word caused them to give. Then, “[they gave their own selves] unto us [Paul and Timothy] by the will of God.” Once God’s Word motivated them to give, it directed them to give to Paul and Timothy.
Despite their great poverty, the Macedonians unselfishly contributed financially to God’s work. Never apologize for not being able to afford to give much to your local church or a ministry of your choice. The amount you give is not as important as why you are giving: Are you giving because someone forced you to give, or because God’s Word led you to give?