Summary: Excel in Giving is the main theme of this passage in 2 Corinthians 8:1-15. Paul urges his readers to excel in faith, utterance, knowledge and also in giving to God and others. Its very motivational and inspiring to practice it in our life journey.
Excel in Giving, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Paul wrote four letters to the churches at Corinth: (1) A letter referred in 1st Corinthians 5:9, (2) the First letter to Corinthians, (3) “severe” letter referred in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4, (4) Second letter. One of the purposes was “To teach Corinthians about the grace of giving”. One of the key themes was to make them understand that “Repentance expresses itself in holiness. This is a purity-producing love for God and his church and a unity-creating love for one’s neighbour( 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 & Chapters 8-9). “Koinonia,” communion. Dated AD 55.
GIVE WITH RICH GENEROSITY (2 Corinthians 8: 1-2)
The churches of Macedonia refers to the churches in cities of Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. They were in extreme poverty but their joy was overflowing because of their rich generosity in giving to God and poor.
Now the faith community in Jerusalem became poor because of war, famine, and persecution. Macedonia and Achaia never recovered from the three wars between Cæsar and Pompeius, between the Triumvirs and Brutus and Cassius, and between Augustus and Antonius. Under Tiberius, heavy taxation they have to pay. Most of them were poor when embraced Christianity. Jesus mission was “ to preach the Gospel to the Poor” (Luke 4:18).
Jews had a custom that during their ‘Feast of Purim’ every poor man must find someone poorer than himself and give him a gift.
“The example of the Macedonians is practical proof that true generosity is not the prerogative of those who enjoy adequacy of means. The most genuine liberality is frequently displayed by those who have the least to give. Christian giving is estimated in terms not of quantity but of sacrifice.” (Hughes)
Generosity and plenty stand against each other. Those who have plenty are the one close their hands to the Church and to the Poor. The poor, who has fewer resources are the one give generously. The giving is sowing the seed. Seeds are always less the harvest is plenty. The plenty is a result of the sown seeds. Giving to God in the form of Tithe, in the form of donations are investments. The dividend will be high the returns will be plenty.
“Once giving is centred in grace, it lifts the whole act away from mechanics, from pressure and duty, from obligation and mere legalism”. Giving because of compulsion and command is taxation. Giving measures the sincerity of Love.
“The tragedy of life so often is, not that we have no high impulses, but that we fail to turn them into actions.” (Barclay)
Giving to the Poor: Act of perfection (Mathew 19:21), giving to Poor lacks nothing (Proverbs 28:27).
Give without ostentation or display (Mathew 6:3). Give freely (Mathew 10:8), give with cheerfulness and generously (Romans 12:8)
GIVE BEYOND YOUR CAPACITY (2 Corinthians 8: 3-5)
God commanded us to honour Him with our Tithe and free will offerings. We cannot rob God to pay Caesar or the other way around. we can’t bandit the glory of God. God expects us to obey the Word in Toto.
God was very particular about offering when He spoke to Moses saying, “Tell the Israelite to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man…” (Exodus 25:2). Leviticus 14:30 reads “give according to your affordability”. Ezra 2:69 reads “people gave according to their ability”. Acts 11:29 reads ‘disciples according to their ability they gave to the need of the brothers’.
Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you (People brought offerings of armlets, bracelets, signet rings, earrings, and necklaces to the Lord, silver, gold and bronze (Numbers 31:50 & 2 Samuel 8:10, Ezra 8:28).
This year fest must witness the giving of the precious, and dearest to our heart to God. Give that which is holding your life, which is hindering your faith in God, which is blocking your further development, which is pulling you down from the work of God. Today decide that one thing is needed for God and His ministry. Decided that you will give that one thing to God.
That one thing may be your entertainment program, your dear friend, your personal pride and dignity, your EGO. Throw off. Your chat or conversation addicted to FB AND SOCIAL MEDIA.
Abraham gave his beloved, loving, dear child to God. He gave the only son he had. He gave what was dear to his heart – that brought great blessing on his life. When God demanded, tested he never consulted with the wife but gone to sacrifice.
Give according to the means (v. 11). Give with the willingness (v. 12). Supply from the plenty (v. 14). The earnestness of your life (v. 8).
GIVE BY GRACE (2 Corinthians 8:6-15).
Excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, in your love. Sincerity and earnestness. Christ – Rich became poor and the poor became rich. Last year you were first in Giving. One has, one does not have. Equality, plenty, End of day…Zero…