August 20th 2 Corinthians 8 C. The Collection for the poor Christians of Jerusalem
Christian Giving Our Macedonian brothers
1: Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2: How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3: For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4: Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5: And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 6: Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 7: Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8: I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9: For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10: And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11: Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12: For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13: For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
Paul says l want you to be aware of the grace of God that has been given to the churches of Macedonia. Paul is probably speaking of the church of Philippi and possibly Thessalonica. And he says, how that through great trials of affliction the out flowing of their joy, inspite of their deepest poverty manifested itself in the richness of their giving to us. They might have been deeply poor and going through great trials of their faith but their generosity was outstanding. Not only do l bear record of their generosity but even beyond their power they gave. They pleaded with us to receive their gift and that we should take to us their tokens of fellowship in our ministry. We did not want them to do all this for us but they first had given themselves to the Lord and secondly their gifts to us were Gods will to them. So we asked Titus to continue to accomplish the same blessing for you too. Paul says, just as you are overflowing in everything, faith, speech, knowledge and in all conscientiousness, and in your love to us, Now see to it, that you abound in your giving to Gods work also. I am not commanding you in the name of the Lord but l am asking you in the light of the eagerness of others to prove the reality of your devotion. Because you know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in that although he was rich yet he for your sake he became poor so that you through his poverty might be become rich. This is the advise l give you that this is appropriate for you now because l know that you did this about a year ago. So now go ahead and give your gifts which l know you were willing previously to do. Because if you were willing then go ahead and do the thing on your mind. Now it is your turn to give something back to take a share in the needs of the churches of Macedonia. Share with them as they share with you. The scripture says of those who collected manna, that he that gathers much will have nothing over and he that gathers little shall have no lack.