1 My friends, we want you to know that the churches in Macedonia have shown others God's gift of undeserved grace. 2Although they were going through hard times and were very poor, they were glad to give generously. 3They gave as much as they could afford and even more, simply because they wanted to. 4They even asked and begged us to let them have the joy of giving their money for God's people. 5And they did more than we had hoped. They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us, just as God wanted them to do.
6Titus was the one who got you started doing this good thing, so we begged him to help you finish what you had begun. 7You do everything better than anyone else. You have stronger faith. You speak better and know more. You are eager to give, and you love us better. Now you must give more generously than anyone else.
8I am not ordering you to do this. I am simply testing how real your love is by comparing it with the concern that others have shown. 9You know our Lord Jesus Christ treated us with undeserved grace by giving up all his riches, so you could become rich.
10A year ago you were the first ones to give, and you gave because you wanted to. So listen to my advice. 11I think you should finish what you started. If you give according to what you have, you will prove you are as eager to give as you were to think about giving. 12It doesn't matter how much you have. What matters is how much you are willing to give from what you have.
13I am not trying to make life easier for others by making life harder for you. But it is only fair 14for you to share with them when you have so much, and they have so little. Later, when they have more than enough, and you are in need, they can share with you. Then everyone will have a fair share, 15 just as the Scriptures say,
“Those who gathered
had nothing left.
Those who gathered
only a little
had all they needed.”
It’s easy to start but then abandon projects, initiatives, or relationships because we “don’t have enough time”…or money, as was the case in the Corinthian church.
We see in this passage that Paul is exhorting the Christians who have so little to give generously and finish what they started.
He starts by sharing the testimony of the Macedonian church – who were above and beyond generous, despite hard times – to re-inspire the Corinthians to commit to finishing what they started. It comes off almost as a challenge … look at how much they gave … yet one seeded with right motives.
I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7b
Then he reminds them that Christ sacrificed everything for us. How can we fail to live a generous life, when ours was made possible by his ultimate sacrifice?
We can get so busy serving God, that yes, our time or resources are greatly in demand or diminished. But in the service of the King who gave it all for us, we get to be a vessel for carrying out his work.
God, you supply all our needs, then go above and beyond and bless us with more. Help us to live with open hands – generous with our time, skills, relationships and efforts. It’s all your work and your doing. We are here, willing, and pray that you would use us in any way to grow your kingdom, knowing that you will finish the good works you have started. Amen.