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Christian generosity
Bible Passage 2 Corinthians 8: 1- 9:2
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & book 2 Corinthians.

Christian generosity

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached August 28, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
1 We want you to know, brothers, about God’s grace that was given to the churches of Macedonia.

2 In spite of their terrible ordeal of suffering, their abundant joy and deep poverty have led them to be abundantly generous.

3 I can testify that by their own free will they have given to the utmost of their ability, yes, even beyond their ability.

4 They begged us earnestly for the privilege of participating in this ministry to the saints.

5 We did not expect that! They gave themselves to the Lord first and then to us, since this was God’s will.

6 So we urged Titus to finish this work of kindness among you in the same way that he had started it.

7 Indeed, the more your faith, speech, knowledge, enthusiasm, and love for us increase, the more we want you to be rich in this work of kindness.

8 I am not commanding you but testing the genuineness of your love by the enthusiasm of others.

9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah. Although he was rich, for your sakes he became poor, so that you, through his poverty, might become rich.

10 I am giving you my opinion on this matter because it will be helpful to you. Last year you were not only willing to do something, but had already started to do it.

11 Now finish what you began, so that your eagerness to do so may be matched by your eagerness to complete it.

12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you do not have.

13 Not that others should have relief while you have hardship. Rather, it is a question of fairness.

14 At the present time, your surplus fills their need, so that their surplus may fill your need. In this way things are fair.

15 As it is written, “The person who had much did not have too much, and the person who had little did not have too little.”

16 But thanks be to God, who placed in the heart of Titus the same dedication to you that I have.

17 He welcomed my request and eagerly went to visit you by his own free will.

18 With him we have sent the brother who is praised in all the churches for spreading the gospel.

19 More than that, he has also been selected by the churches to travel with us while we are administering this work of kindness for the glory of the Lord and as evidence of our eagerness to help.

20 We are trying to avoid any criticism of the way we are administering this great undertaking.

21 We intend to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of people.

22 We have also sent with them our brother whom we have often tested in many ways and found to be dedicated. At present, he is more dedicated than ever because he has so much confidence in you.

23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker on your behalf. Our brothers, emissaries from the churches, are bringing glory to the Messiah.

24 Therefore, demonstrate to the churches that you love them and show them publicly why we boast about you.

1 I do not need to write to you any further about the ministry to the saints.

2 For I know how willing you are, and I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year, and your enthusiasm has stimulated most of them.

 

BACKGROUND
About a year earlier Paul had given instructions to the Corinthians about the collection of money he was organizing for the poor Christians in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16:1-4). The Corinthians had made a start (see 2 Cor. 9:2), but in the meantime, they became so concerned with their difficulties that they neglected their responsibilities in the matter. Now that they have cleared up their local troubles, Paul reminds them of the importance of this exercise in Christian giving.

The giving of the Christians in Macedonia is an example of true Christian giving. They might have suffered from persecution and poverty, but they gave generously – not only as much as they were able but far more, and without any urging from Paul (1 Cor. 8:1-3). They begged Paul to allow them the privilege of taking part in the offering. Such an attitude was possible only because they first gave themselves to the Lord, for Him to use them as He desired (verses 4-5).

Paul will now send Titus to Corinth to encourage the believers to complete what they had started. The enthusiasm they show in other spiritual exercises should be shown in their giving also (verses 6-7).

There are no rules to force Christians to give. They should give out of love. Through love, Christ gave everything, leaving the glory of heaven for a sinful world, so that he might save sinners and give them a share in his riches (verses 8-9). The Corinthians should likewise show sacrificial love, by completing the work that they began the previous year. There is no law to determine the amount they should give. It will depend on how much they have (verses 10-12).

Although the Corinthians may be financially better off than Christians in some other churches, Paul does not want to burden them unfairly. Nevertheless, they should realize that while they can help poorer churches, they should. They must bear in mind also that they do not know the future. One day they may be poor and the Jerusalem church is able to send help to them (verses 13-14). The principle is not that all must receive an equal amount, but that all must have enough according to their needs, with no greed and no starving (verse 15).

Titus is just as keen as Paul to see this collection completed successfully (verses 16-17). He is traveling to Corinth with two other well-known Christians. One of them has been chosen by several churches as their representative to join Paul and the other representatives who will later take the money to Jerusalem. The other is a proven friend of Paul’s who has the interests of the Corinthians at heart. The reason for sending three people is to ensure that no one, whether inside or outside the church, has any cause to doubt Paul’s uprightness or sincerity. Everything must be done openly and honestly (verses 18-22).

By participating whole-heartedly in this offering, the Corinthians will display the generous love of which Paul has often boasted (verses 23-24). Paul feels he must speak further on the matter. He reminds the Corinthians of their enthusiasm the previous year, and of the fact that his boasting of their enthusiasm had stirred the Macedonians to join in the offering (9:1-2).

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 Our ordeals and troubles are not substitutes for our giving. We must always give nevertheless

🔷 Giving, especially to support the poor and God’s work is a privilege that everyone must cherish

🔷 Everything that the believer gives cheerfully will be rewarded by God Himself who is the righteous judge and advocate

🔷 Financial accountability and honesty are the surest ways Christian leaders who are in charge of offerings and donations can get people to give more

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Pray that you will be a cheerful giver
💥 Pray for those in need to receive help from heaven

CONCLUSION📙
Giving is not for the ‘rich’ but for all persons to get involved and help those in need as a sign of our love for Jesus Christ who also gave everything for our sake.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections