Summary: The way the churches in Macedonia responded to helping the Christians in Jerusalem is a guide for the living and giving of all Christians. Paul’s instruction to the Christians in Corinth can be our guide to “Overflowing in Rich Generosity.”
How to Overflow in Rich Generosity
-Discover the Grace of Giving-
I want you to turn to the person sitting next to you and say one word, “Stewardship.” Ask each other what the first word is that comes to your mind. A steward is a “guardian,” “manager,” “provider,”
II Corinthians 8 – 9 teaches the importance of being good Stewards or Managers of God’s money.
Paul is involved in collecting money for the needy Christians in Jerusalem. This collection had been going on for at least a year, but had been interrupted in Corinth by the confusion and conflict among the Christians there. Christians in the church have worked out their differences and now Paul calls on them to complete what they had started earlier. To resume and complete this collection would deepen their Christian life. It would expand their horizons. It would help to bind Gentile and Jewish Christians together in a bond of fellowship. Perhaps overarching everything else, the Corinthians needed to learn the blessing that comes from giving.
To accomplish all this with the Corinthians, Paul tells them the story of some other Christians in Macedonia. Macedonia was an economically depressed area. These Christians were poor, very poor; as poor as the Christians in Jerusalem for whom the offering was being taken. Yet when Paul announces the need of the suffering Christians in Jerusalem, the Macedonians responded in an unbelievable way. The way they responded, Paul says, is the guide for the living and giving of all Christians. Paul’s instruction to the Christians in Corinth can be our guide to “Overflow in Rich Generosity.”
I. Give Voluntarily
Paul testified that the Christians in Macedonia were economically depressed but they out of their deep poverty they “Overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will.” (II Cor. 8:2-3 NLT)
To experience an overflow of rich generosity we need to give voluntarily and not with threats or pressure. Paul emphasized the importance of giving voluntarily in II Cor. 9:7, “You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully.” NLT
Greed keeps us from giving cheerfully to charities and to the work of the Lord. The Lord promises to supply all our needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) Greed pushes us to focus on our “wants” rather than just having our needs satisfied.
A father reported that he saw his daughter with a string tied around one of her teeth and the other end tired to a door knob. He said to her, “Let me examine that tooth. Why it’s not even loose!” His daughter said, “Leave me alone Dad, I need the money!”
I was reading about how greed didn’t turn out so well for a thief. Every night, Mrs. Hollis Sharpe of southern California took her miniature poodle, Jonathan, out for a walk. She always took with her a plastic bag so that after her dog would make a mess in someone’s yard, she could clean up after Jonathan.