2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Moreover, brothers, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
I. GIVING IS A CHRISTIAN GRACE. It is a recognition of that great duty of service which is obligatory throughout the kingdom of Christ.
II. Naturally enough, then, we find giving treated in this passage as THE DUTY OF ALL. The churches of Macedonia in their deep poverty are commended for their giving. Giving is of as wide obligation as the observance of the Sabbath. Much the same reasons could be urged for excusing the poor from the observance of the Sabbath as from the duty of giving. The Sabbath might be transmuted into money. The poor might use the day to earn additional wages.
III. A third lesson of this paragraph is that GIVING SHOULD BE VOLUNTARY AND CHEERFUL. The Macedonian churches are here commended that they gave of their own accord and besought Paul with much entreaty to accept their gift for the needy at Jerusalem.
IV. Giving, we are to notice, is also AN ACT OF FELLOWSHIP. The Macedonians in sending their contribution to the Christians at Jerusalem were enjoying "fellowship in the ministering to the saints." Fellowship is an interflow of hearts and a cooperation with others. Now giving is one of the simplest and easiest methods of expressing fellowship. It is at the outset a recognition of the brotherly relation of man to man. It is an effort to share the burdens of others. We are filled with amazement at the discoveries of modern science. To-day power can be sent along a wire through our streets and into the country and utilised wherever we please. It is a blessing of much the same character that our gifts can fly here and there over the whole world as a force to relieve distress and elevate character. We cannot always go ourselves.
V. We must recognise Christian giving as THE OUTCOME OF PERSONAL CONSECRATION. The wonderful liberality of the Macedonian Christians was due to the fact that "first they gave their own selves to the Lord." A friend lately received the gift of a house; what did that include? The rent, of course, that certain tenants were paying for the use of the house. The original owner, after he had given this house to another, could no longer collect the rents for himself. If we have truly given ourselves up to God in a complete consecration, that includes anything and everything of ours. If we have property, it is His; time, abilities, influence — all are His.
VI. The passage declares that giving is A PROOF OF LOVE. It is no trial to us to advance the cause of Christ by our gifts if we love the Lord Jesus supremely.
VII. The passage urges us to GIVE IN IMITATION OF CHRIST. The apostle reminds us that the Lord Jesus Christ, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor.
VIII. Once more let us notice that GIVING IS MEASURED BY WILLINGNESS, NOT BY AMOUNT. "If the readiness is there," wrote the apostle, "it is acceptable according as a man hath and not according as he hath not." We are often discouraged by the smallness of our gifts, but we need not be.
(Addison P. Foster.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;