Macedonian Giving: Radical Generosity
In tight financial times, should you be giving money to other people?
Times are tight financially, but you feel a stirring in your heart to be a giver. What should you do? Take a cue from the Bible and practice Macedonian giving.
We know that giving is an important part of God’s plan for handling money. Generosity is a key element of God’s Master Plan for your finances. And it is one of the chief ways that we can help spread His Kingdom throughout the earth. But when money is tight, giving can seem unwise or even impossible. What does the Bible say about that?
For the answer, we’re going to turn to II Corinthians 8:1-7. This passage gives us a fascinating, real-world example of generosity in the midst of poverty.
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
Someone Always Has it Worse Than You
In this passage, Paul is using the example of the Macedonian churches to encourage the Corinthian church to generosity. So what can we learn from Macedonian giving?
The Macedonian churches were going through some tough times. Paul references their “severe trial” and “extreme poverty.” They had almost nothing to spare. And yet, they gave generously, “even beyond their ability.”
So what were they giving to, and why? Church historians tell us that in this part of the first century (around A.D. 45), there was a severe famine in the area around Jerusalem in Judea, which had inflicted severe poverty and need on the Jewish believers. Paul, who was the apostle to the Gentiles, went to the churches he had planted throughout the Greek world, asking their members to give money to help relieve the suffering of their Jewish brothers.
God’s love should always compel us to help those in need, even if we are in need ourselves.
So the Macedonians saw that their brothers and sisters in Christ were being faced with even greater affliction. Their hearts were moved with compassion, and they gave everything they could. They gave even more than they could afford.
Why would they do something that seemed so reckless? Because they realized that matter how tight things are for you, there’s always someone who has it worse. God’s love should motivate us to help those in need, even if we are in need ourselves.
Macedonian Giving: Submission to God
So how were the Macedonians able to give so generously out of their own need? The key is found in verse 5: “They gave themselves first of all to the Lord.”
When we’re facing tough times, the last thing that we tend to think about is how we can help other people. But the Macedonians were moved by the love and direction of God. They didn’t consider their own needs, but responded to the needs of others with God’s heart of love. And because of their great sacrifice, God gave them a special grace to accomplish this act of generosity. In the introduction to this passage, Paul says that he wants the Corinthians “to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.”
Paul finishes by appealing to the Corinthians to pursue this love and grace themselves. “See to it that you also excel in this grace of giving.”
Macedonian Giving in Your Life
So what can we take away from this story about Macedonian giving? First, generosity is important to God. He says it’s just as important as things like faith, knowledge and love. And if we surrender our wills to His love, He will endow us with the grace to give, even if we are in need ourselves.
Despite the difficulty of your circumstances, you should continually seek God’s heart of love for others.
If you are in the middle of tough financial times, should you recklessly give away what little you have? No. But despite the difficulty of your circumstances, you should continually seek God’s heart of love for others. And if He wants, He will teach you how. He will give you the grace to do it. In fact, learning to be a good giver may be one of the spiritual keys to unlocking prosperity in your own life.
For years, I have helped people find financial freedom by teaching them what God says about money. If you want to be a giver but are having trouble in your own financial life, I would be honored to help you too. Subscribe to God, Money & Me today, and I’ll come alongside you with wisdom, insight and encouragement to help you grow from where you are now to where God wants you to be.
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