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2 For in the midst of an ordeal of severe tribulation, their abundance of joy and their depth of poverty [together] have overflowed in wealth of lavish generosity on their part. 3 For, as I can bear witness, [they gave] according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability; and [they did it] voluntarily, 4 Begging us most insistently for the favor and the fellowship of contributing in this ministration for [the relief and support of] the saints [in Jerusalem]. 5 Nor [was this gift of theirs merely the contribution] that we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us [as His agents] by the will of God [entirely disregarding their personal interests, they gave as much as they possibly could, having put themselves at our disposal to be directed by the will of God] 2 Cor 8: 2-5 AMPC
The church in Macedonia was seriously on fire! They gave lavishly and joyfully despite great poverty, willingly and freely, even beyond their ability. But they didn’t stop there – they also begged to help and care for other Christians. Sounds crazy right? Our natural tendency during times of pain or trial is to become self-centered and focused on how to solve our own problems. But a life that is yielded to God, driven by a heart full of gratitude that trusts God completely can’t help but express itself in love by giving and serving others.
The Bible says they begged most insistently… they persisted in asking. They basically nagged to be a part of helping and caring for the saints in Jerusalem. They wouldn’t take no for an answer! Most people are persistent in order to receive. But chasing opportunities to give, even in the midst of your lack? That’s unheard of! But not for the church in Macedonia!
These people gave everything – not just their few material possessions, but they gave THEMSELVES as well. The crucial part is they gave themselves to God first. When we give ourselves to God first, everything we do is powered by His grace and done for His glory rather than personal gain. We become able to give in ways we never imagined!
The church in Macedonia forgot about themselves in their time of greatest need, fully surrendered to God and then jumped in to help, serve and give to others in the Body of Christ. What a beautiful picture of what the church should look like! Of what the world could look like!