THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2015
GENEROSITY IN GIVING
Today’s reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9
Paul extolled the churches of Macedonia for their generosity
in giving to the church in Jerusalem that was in great need.
What was exemplary about their giving? It was no ordinary
giving, but much more. It “overflowed in a wealth of
generosity on their part.” (v.2c).
it was done “spontaneously” (v.3c). They recognized
the need and they responded accordingly. There was no thought
to call for a forum, or to assess their resources, or to look
at other priorities. They just decided they needed to act.
they did not hold back on whatever resources they had. They
gave “according to their means” (v.3a). They were
generous, looking to whatever they had as what they could
share with those in need.
in fact they gave “beyond their means” (v.3b).
They dug deep into their pockets. They made sacrifices, having
to do without in order to help. They gave what they could
not afford to give.
they “begged” for the privilege of helping (v.4a).
They looked on giving as “the favor of taking part in
the service to the holy ones” (v.4c). It was not just
a good deed for them, but a great privilege, that they could
help their brethren in some way. They considered themselves
the ones who would be blessed as they helped out.
they asked “insistently” (v.4b). They were persistent.
They proactively sought to help. They would not rest until
they had exhausted all means by which to help.
there was an overflow of “the abundance of their joy”
(v.2b) in giving. They not only did not begrudge the request
for help, but they were filled with great joy in being able
to help. God loves a cheerful giver.
What principles point to the importance of such exemplary
generosity toward the poor?
it is the pattern God has designated. We look at Jesus, we
look at our brethren, and so we look to the poor. The Macedonians
“gave themselves first to the Lord and to us through
the will of God” (v.5).
it is all about “the grace of God that has been given
to the churches” (v.1). Grace is for our personal sanctification,
and grace is for being able to do the mission entrusted to
us. We grow inwardly in holiness, and we grow outwardly in
service. “Now as you excel in every respect, in faith,
discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we
have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also.”
it is a test of how loving we have become. It is “to
test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others.”
(v.8b). The greatest Christian virtue is love. It is easy
enough to profess love for God and neighbor. But do we truly
manifest such love to the least of our brethren, especially
when we have to share our resources, even beyond our means?
it is following in the example of Jesus himself. “For
you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for
your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by
his poverty you might become rich.” (v.9). Jesus was
God but emptied himself. Jesus was the Master but took the
form of a slave. Jesus gave of himself until, having given
his life, there was nothing more to give. We give of our resources,
having less for ourselves, so that others might have more,
and no one would be in need.