2 Corinthians 8:1-9 - We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich.
How intimate are these words from the apostle Paul as he praises the earnest work done by the saints in the churches of Macedonia. These believers, likely Gentile believers for the most part, were the source of much pride and joy for the apostle. Paul is here applauding their generosity, even as they endured a severe test of affliction. In "their extreme poverty," he says their giving soared beyond their means, to produce a wealth of generosity for others. And by their example, he is nudging the church at Corinth to respond likewise.
How useful the Macedonian believers' gifts were to those in need! How in tune and responsive their hearts were to the prompting of the Holy Spirit that they should serve in such a way! And then, when their resources were strained already, these believers go one better: "begging (Paul) earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints," that is, the Jewish and Gentile Christians who were struggling in Jerusalem.
It's service like this that inspires, and we see it inside and outside the church. We see Christian laypeople spending time and money to serve the homeless and destitute, those who are seriously at risk, and millions of others who have slipped through the cracks, in the U. S. and around the world. There are the ongoing, herculean efforts being made by hospital staff, care providers, and law enforcement personnel during this pandemic. There are countless stories of people helping others.
Whether it's a mission trip abroad or a few hours helping a neighbor, we can show our love in tangible ways that point to the Savior. It was He who became poor for our sake, suffering the cross and the scourge of our sins, so that by His death and resurrection we "might become rich."
And now, from this wealth beyond all measure, may we generously give to others as well.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, prompt us to give to others as You have given to us. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. What most inspires you to want to give?
2. How did Jesus become poor so we might become rich?
3. What's a good story from your own experience of someone helping someone else?
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