“And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in the service to the saints.” 2 Corinthians 8: 1-4
Is it just me or are these verses extremely convicting?
First off, we see that the Macedonian churches are in a severe trial. They have extreme poverty. Things do not seem to be going in the direction that they would hope.
And yet what does Paul say that they have? Overflowing joy.
Wow. (Insert part 1 of conviction here.)
And then we realize why they have overflowing joy… because they are giving. And not just giving, but giving even beyond their ability.
This is such backwards thinking. How can those living in poverty be givers? And how with what little they have, can they give more than they have? And how can they have joy, not just IN their nothing, but BECAUSE they have nothing?
(Insert part 2 of conviction here.)
And then…on top of that, they were pleading to give! They counted it a privilege to share their possessions and money!
(Insert part 3 of conviction here.)
As I read this, I was so challenged. I realized that I haven’t even scratched the surface of learning to give beyond my ability. I don’t think a lot of us have, actually. But Paul describes this group of churches that are doing just that, even in their poverty.
It’s challenging. It’s convicting. But it’s also encouraging. We can be this group of people! We can find joy in giving. Not just out of our wealth and convenience, but beyond our ability. It’s a step of faith, but according to God’s word, it’s a rewarding one!
Want to know more about the work that Reinier and Kristen are doing in Madagascar? You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive their newsletter. If you would like to donate, you can go to http://www.worldoutreach.org/donations and search for Kristen. They would love to have you join the vision that God has given them for the country of Madagascar