Joy And Generosity In Extreme Poverty

And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-2

Not only were the Macedonian churches experiencing extreme trial and persecution, they were also experiencing extreme poverty. Yet, in the midst of this great hardship they were giving offerings to others who were in need. What a tremendous spirit these people had.

Read how Paul elaborates on their generosity: “I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (v3-4). Even in their poverty they begged for the privilege to give more.

How could they be such givers when their own need was so great? Paul explains that in the next verse: “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (v5). You can always tell the folks who haven’t fully given themselves to the Lord. They give little and have no joy in what they do give.

You can also tell those who do give themselves fully to the Lord. They give much, and often, like the widow who gave only a penny, they give their all. Instead of being sad and downcast over what they don’t have they rejoice over what they were able to give.

There is a lesson here for all of us. Let us first give ourselves to the Lord, then to those who serve him well, and finally to those who are in great need. Don’t look for financial reward from giving your best, but you can expect that your joy will be overflowing. You may even receive a financial blessing from giving, but whether that comes or not our joy should come from seeing others blessed, not in anticipating a reward.

Prayer: Lord, grant me a heart to give. Not to just give from my abundance but to give even when I am in need. Give me the joy of giving myself fully to you so that your kingdom will be blessed.

PS: What thoughts did this devotion bring to your mind? I would very much enjoy reading your comments. Please let us know what you are thinking – write your comment in the comments box. As our way of Hope and Promises Coversaying “Thank You” this month we are giving a free book to those who make a comment.

We are offering the book, “Hope and Promises From the Word of God” to those who submit a comment. You will enjoy this book that has blessed many to continue their journey of faith.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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