2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Moreover, brothers, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;…
The Christians of the Jerusalem Church were in sore trouble. A feeble folk at the best, they were now reduced to an extremity of famine. At this juncture the advantage of Christian fellowship was brought into clear light. Paul and Barnabas took it upon themselves, by Divine appointment, to call upon the more favoured brethren for help (Acts 2:27-30). They received prompt contributions from the Churches in Achaia, also from those in Macedonia (Romans 15:26). A strong appeal was made to the churches of Galatia (1 Corinthians 16:1). The congregation at Rome, made up largely of Gentiles, some of whom were wealthy and influential, was exhorted to do its part (Romans 15:27). And in the Scripture before us the matter is presented to the Corinthian Christians in a way to stir their deepest and most substantial sympathy. It was a splendid opportunity for displaying the genuineness of Christian unity. In appealing to the Corinthian Church the apostle makes mention of the liberality of their brethren in Macedonia, hoping thus to provoke them to good works. At the very time when these Macedonians were sending their gifts to Jerusalem, they themselves were groaning under a twofold yoke of poverty and persecution. Nevertheless they furnished forth a pattern of benevolence. First, they gave voluntarily. They gave with spontaneity, with good cheer, with abandon. They gave not as a deep well gives to the toiler at the windlass, but as a fountain gives to the wounded hart that stands panting at its brink. Second, they gave largely — "to their power, yea, and beyond it." Self-denial is the first step in consecration. The virtue of sacrifice lies largely in the cost of it. Third, they gave from principle. The beginning of their generosity and its motive and inspiration lay in this, that "they first of all gave their own selves to the Lord." After that everything was easy. Let us note some of the reasons why God's people, "as they abound in everything, in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in diligence, and in brotherly love, should abound in this grace also."
I. BECAUSE GIVING IS A GRACE. It is not a mere adjunct or incident of the Christian life, but one of its cardinal graces. Whether a disciple of Christ shall make a practice of giving or not is no more an open question than whether he shall pray or not. The rule of holy living is never selfishness, but always self-forgetfulness. This was the mind that was in Christ Jesus, and this must be the disposition of those who follow him.
II. IT IS IN THE LINE OF COMMON HONESTY. We are stewards of the gifts of God. The silver and the gold are His.
III. GIVING IS A FRUITFUL SOURCE OF HAPPINESS.
IV. GIVING IS A MEANS OF GETTING. Let us observe the testimony of Scripture on this point. "Honour the Lord with thy substance and with the first-fruits of all thine increase; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty."
V. THIS IS THE NOBLEST END OF MONEY-MARKING. Some men get to hoard. Others get to spend. Still others get to give.
VI. OUR GIVING IS GOD'S METHOD FOR THE CONVERSION OF THE WORLD. It is God's purpose that all nations should be evangelised. Our wealth must furnish the sinews of the holy war.
VII. THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST TEACHES US TO GIVE. He was the greatest of givers. He gave everything He had for our deliverance from sin and death.
(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;