‘Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.’ — 2 Corinthians 8:4
2 Corinthians 8 is an awesome chapter in which Paul describes a group of people in Macedonia who were very eager to give and help others even though they themselves had very little.
They were going through ‘a great trial of affliction’ and they were experiencing ‘deep poverty’, yet God’s grace was so at work in them that they begged Paul to let them give something to help their fellow believers in Jerusalem.
Their example was an inspiration for the Corinthians church and for us today. Notice several lessons about giving:
- Before we will want to give, we must have a deep experience and understanding of how much we have received by God’s grace (v.1,7).
- Once we get ahold of how good God has been and how gracious the Lord Jesus was to us, we won’t let anything stop us from being generous to others (v.2-4,9).
- If we are unwilling to give, then it is a good indication that we have not totally surrendered to God (v.5). Once we are surrendered, then it is most natural that we give of our resources as well.
- The grace of giving is another step in our Christian maturity, just like faith, boldness, knowledge, diligence, and love (v.7).
- Giving is proof of our love (v.8). As Amy Carmichael said, ‘You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving’.
- Don’t just make promises to give; follow through on your promises (v.11).
- Give out of what you have (v.12). It is easy to promise and intend to give when you make more or have more, but God simply wants us to do what we can with what we have. If we are faithful in what we have, He may bless us with more to give.
- Give in proportion to what you have (v.13-15). We should not simply give what others are giving. We should give in accordance to what God has blessed us with. If we have a lot, we should give a lot. If we have little, we give the little we can. That’s why giving a percentage is such a good way to make sure our giving is proportionate to what we have.
- Do everything in an above-board and honest manner, so that there can be no doubts about the integrity of things (v.20-21).