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Devotional - week of April 10, 2016


A CHURCH OF JOYFUL GENEROSITY

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia : that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.  2 Corinthians 8:1-2

In an appeal to the church at Corinth to give generously to an offering for the poor saints at Jerusalem , Paul tells of the generosity of the churches in Macedonia .

Paul attributes the generosity of the Macedonians to an overflow of joyfulness produced by the grace of God.

The Macedonian believers had three good reasons not to be so generous in their giving. God’s grace lifted them above all three.

First, the Macedonians gave generously in spite of appeals by Paul for them not to do so. In verses 3 and 4 Paul writes:

For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.

Second, a state of deep poverty could not stop the Macedonians from giving generously.  

Third, a “trial of affliction”—whatever it was—could not stop the Macedonians from sending a generous gift.  

By God’s grace the Macedonians lifted the burdens of the poor in Jerusalem with a generous gift—and by inspiring other believers to give generously.

Even today our churches are inspired as we tell of the generosity of the Macedonian churches.

There is, however, something far more important we can do. We can lead our members to understand and experience the life of grace. When our churches respond, one of many results will be a church of joyful and inspiring generosity.