Grace-based Giving—Partnership and Fellowship
When we experience God’s unmerited favor working in our lives, we cannot help but give. His grace accomplishes things we could never do on our own and it moves us to become generous givers. The church of Macedonia experienced it and responded by giving liberally. The Greek word for liberality means seeking what we can give to someone else, rather than seeking riches for ourselves. The Macedonians heard Paul’s ministry and responded to it with abundant joy. They became totally focused on what they could do to help the poor, with no concern for themselves. When our motivation to give is out of love and thanksgiving for God rather than out of fear or necessity, we demonstrate the grace of God in tangible ways others can see.
A. The church of Macedonia was a great example of giving generously and willingly.
- Brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia, how that in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves, praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints (2 Corinthians 8:1-24).
- The word “wit” is used to describe Paul’s desire to testify about the Macedonians, using them as an example to inspire and motivate others.
- The church of Macedonia gave willingly because they had experienced God’s favor.
- Joy comes from what we know. The Macedonians obviously knew something others did not, because they had an abundance of joy.
- They gave liberally, regardless of their financial circumstances. The liberal soul will be made fat (Proverbs 11:25).
- The Macedonians were so motivated that they begged for the opportunity to give.
- “Fellowship” comes from a Greek word meaning participation or partnership.
- Whoever has this world’s good, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him? (1 John 3:17).
- Paul is saying here that anyone with God’s love in them cannot simply turn away from those in need and refuse to help them.
B. We give, not because we are required to, but because we are joyful and thankful.
- Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils. Freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8).
- We have already freely received faith, knowledge, and God’s love. Jesus told the disciples to freely give what God blessed them with. For us, this applies to money as well.
- For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you. I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago, and your zeal has provoked very many. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof you had noticed before that the same might be ready as a matter of bounty, and not of covetousness. He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully shall reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:1-15).
- Paul was not putting pressure on the Corinthians to give, but rather encouraging them.
- God’s grace enables our giving. Generous giving results in a generous return, and stingy giving results in a stingy return. This is a spiritual law.
- Giving out of necessity was demonstrated under the old covenant by tithing (Malachi 3:10).
- Under the old covenant, God told the people to tithe and added that they would be cursed if they did not. Now, we are no longer under a curse, and we do not have to give first to be blessed. We are already blessed because of what Jesus did.
- Our giving is a way we express grace. Gratitude is the language of grace.
2 Corinthians 8:1-24
1 John 3:17
2 Corinthians 9:1-15