In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:2
Listen: 2 Corinthians 8
There is a famine in Jerusalem, and Jesus followers there are suffering. In response, the believers in Corinth had promised to send a gift to help feed hungry people. But the gift hadn’t materialized. Paul probably could have raised the money with a quick reminder and a few verses—but he realizes there is something deeper. Hungry people will be fed AND this gift will serve as bonding agent in the fledgling church. The suffering Christians in Jerusalem were primarily Jewish. Those in Corinth were mostly Gentile. This is about much more than food. It is a tremendous teaching opportunity.
To motivate the Corinthians, Paul uses the example of the Macedonian churches up north. The churches in Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea gave sacrificially despite severe persecution and poverty. Generosity cost them something.
The Corinthian churches had experienced nothing like the Macedonian churches. For the Macedonian churches, severe trial led to overflowing joy, extreme poverty led to rich generosity. What is radical is the extreme sacrifice.
Extreme sacrifice in giving means it costs us something. It means we don’t wait as we begin to organize our lives around our giving and not just give what’s left over. As we go through this week, we’ll explore what it might look like for Ada Bible Church to become one of the most generous churches in America. That doesn’t mean that our wealthiest families are writing the largest checks. It means our entire church is generous.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
The first step in following the example of the Macedonian churches is one of openness. We must open our hearts to a lifestyle of consistent giving that costs us something. As you welcome God into your week, today pray a prayer of openness. Pray something like this, “Father, I desire to give sacrificially. But I need your help to do this. Open my heart to be receptive to a new way of thinking and a new way of living. In Jesus name, and for your glory, Amen.”
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.