MODEL EXAMPLES OF GIVING (I)
2 Corinthians 8 begins a new section on the theology of giving. In 1 Corinthians 16:1-3, the Apostle Paul started a fund to relieve the poor saints in Jerusalem. However, the giving was delayed, perhaps due to the manifold problems which besieged the Corinthian church. Therefore, Paul exhorted the Corinthian Christians to complete giving to the relief fund which they had begun.
In order to encourage the Corinthian Christians to complete their giving unto the poor saints in Jerusalem, the Apostle Paul cited the good examples of the churches in Macedonia (eg: Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea). The region of Macedonia had seen numerous long wars in history. Due to the toils of these wars, the region of Macedonia was not rich compared to its neighbours. Moreover, the churches in Macedonia had to endure much persecution for the gospel’s sake. Hints of these troubles can be seen in the other epistles. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 1:6, Paul wrote, “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” He added in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15, “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men.”
Nevertheless, the Macedonian Christians were able to rise above their circumstances to give to the relief fund for the poor saints in Jerusalem. Instead of considering their own needs, they empathized with the brethren in Jerusalem and gave generously to them. This was Christian-giving manifested out of God’s grace in the hearts of the Macedonians. They were of the same spirit as the widow who gave her all to the Lord with her mites (Mark 12:41-44). Everything we have belongs to God.
THOUGHT: What is the proper use of possessions in this life?
PRAYER: Father, all I have belongeth to Thee.