More Than Money

November 21, 2022

They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:2 NLT

The story of the Macedonian Christians, Paul tells in his letter to the Corinthians, is inspiring and incredible. They were among the first followers of Jesus within the first twenty years after Jesus died, resurrected, and returned to heaven, leaving His followers with the Holy Spirit and a mission. They had no Bible, no permanent pastors, no beautiful buildings, no advertisements, no worship teams, no social media platforms—not even a microphone. They had none of the resources we assume are necessary to make a major impact. That was as a church.

Individually it was no better. They were people who enthusiastically came to faith in Jesus when they heard the message of Jesus. It was so contrary to their culture that they were immediately subjected to pressure and persecution. It was so intense and enduring that they lost jobs, homes, and income. They were rejected by their families. They were reduced to poverty. Following Jesus faithfully changed their lifestyles. Did you catch that? Following Him was such a challenging choice that they were no longer financially and socially moving up and to the right. Following Jesus cost them.

Yet through those losses they were also “filled with abundant joy.” Paul says that their abundant joy “overflowed in rich generosity.” He goes on to say that they begged over and over for the privilege of giving. They gave more than they could afford, out of their poverty. That seems unreasonable. WHY DID THEY DO THAT?

Paul answered the question: “Their first action was to give themselves to the Lord…” (v. 5). Whenever a person truly gives themselves to the Lord first, they understand that generosity is far more than money. The Macedonian Christians knew what they needed to do and how they needed to give:

  • It wasn’t just their money, it was their mission.
  • It wasn’t just their bank account, it was their calendar.
  • It wasn’t just their donation, it was their whole heart.
  • It wasn’t just their words, it was their actions.

Giving themselves to God first in that way gave them a very loose grip on their money. They wanted their money to do God’s work as they were doing in every other way. Rich generosity to others was their natural reaction when God had them—all of them—first. We have the Holy Spirit and the mission too.

  • God, I need to be a Macedonian Christian. When like them I give all of me first, all that I have will be Yours, and I too will overflow with rich generosity and joy, no matter the circumstances.