2 Cor.8:1,4 – Beloved ones, we must tell you about the grace God poured out upon the churches of Macedonia. They actually begged us for the privilege of sharing in this ministry of giving….
“From the depths of their extreme poverty, super-abundant joy overflowed into an act of extravagant generosity.” This is how Paul described the effect of grace on the churches of Macedonia. This kind of joyful generosity is un-explainable unless….. unless you add God’s amazing grace to the equation. Humans do things because of the reward involved. You put in a hard day’s work and there is a rewarding paycheck on the other side, a farmer works his field expecting a harvest. Giving finances to the ministry doesn’t compute to the natural man. The effect of God’s grace radically changes our perception of giving to God’s kingdom. The generosity Paul describes in this passage makes sense to those effected by God’s grace. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on this passage.
“Under persecution and desperately poor, the churches of Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea) gave more than just an extravagant offering. They fully surrendered themselves to the Lord and gave out of a longing to fulfill God’s pleasure. This is the key to generous giving. First we dedicate our hearts to God, which includes our finances, then we give to God’s work as he directs us. Throughout 2 Corinthians, giving is described as a “grace” that God places on our lives, which empowers our generosity.”
What exactly is the reward that we see as a result of God’s grace that changes us. First, we see the value of God’s kingdom and the joy of redemption. When we see the lives changed by the grace of God it makes our giving worth everything. Seeing the fruit of God’s ministries alone causes us to want to give our finances to His work. Grace also opens our eyes to seedtime and harvest which is how the Lord operates His entire creation. Our tithes and offerings are literally seeds that contain God’s abundant supply for our personal lives. No wonder the Macedonians were excited about giving. Finally, our giving also comes back to us in heaven. Jesus taught about generosity with our finances as well. He said that when we give to God’s work on earth we are “storing up treasures in heaven”. Seeing the Lord’s blessing in His ministries on earth, on our personal finances in the here and now, and the blessing that will come back to us for eternity is the work of grace on us. When we see it for ourselves, we too will beg to be able to participate in the privilege of giving to the work of God.