Saturday, April 29, 2017

2 Corinthians 8:1-3 -- On Grace and Giving

"Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;"
2 Corinthians 8:1-3

I like this idea of being liberal and generous in the midst of great trials and deep poverty.  It says that they had the grace of God, an abundance of joy, and that they were willing to do everything in their power, and *beyond* their power.  That is amazing... and seems pretty far from what we usually think and feel when we are in the midst of trials and deep poverty.

I was super poor in college, and I remember one time when a friend and I went out to eat... something I almost never did, because I could not afford it (I ate popcorn most of the time because it was cheap and plentiful).  We went to Olive Garden.  Their unlimited salad and breadsticks was a feast, but it was super expensive... I think like 7 bucks (and believe me, at the time, that was a fortune).  The waitress was also a big jerk to us, perhaps with some justification... we were, after all, cheap college students and we sat there a long time, trying to get our money's worth with the all you can eat. :)  So, when we left, I paid the bill, but I wasn't going to leave much of a tip--first of all, I had just spent almost all the money I had in the world, and second of all, I didn't think she deserved it--and I remember my friend, who was also a poor college student (we worked part time at the same place, so I know she wasn't raking in the dough), pulled out her wallet and left all her money for the girl, which was about seven bucks (which is how I remember the price of the meal, because I remember the tip was the same amount).  I stared at it, and I remember her saying that she used to be a waitress and she knew how hard it was, and that besides, maybe it would make her treat college students better next time.  That made an impact on me, which is probably why I still remember it.  Instead of hoarding her resources as I was, she was willing to share them, even with someone that had treated her badly.

I'm also reminded of the story of the Widow's Mite (Mark 12:41-44) where rich men were giving a lot of money to the Temple, but a poor widow came and cast in everything that she had.  In *her* affliction and deep poverty, she (like the Macedonians) was willing to be liberal within her power, and truly beyond her power--after giving all that you have, only faith ensures that you aren't going home to starve.

Today, perhaps we can learn from the Macedonians, and my college friend, and the poor widow that gave everything she had.  Let's pray to God for his grace, so that we can learn to have not only an abundance of joy in the midst of our afflictions and/or poverty, but so that we can learn that kind of selfless generosity of spirit--to be willing to give of ourselves and our resources as much as is in our power, and beyond.  That is doing God's will, loving our neighbors, and building the kingdom of God, not to mention leaving the world a better place than the way we found it.


  1. Thank you! This message is a blessing that inspires generosity, which always leads to sufficient resources for our needs. Though, let us be mindful of self protection, and not recklessness, is also a part of this commandment.


Total Pageviews