Online Bible Commentary
See That You Abound in This Grace
2 Corinthians 8: 1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us--see that you abound in this grace also. (NKJV)
The Bible addresses the subject of money as much or more than any other subject. It is critical to the continuation of God’s work on earth. In this passage, Paul is writing to the believers in the church at Corinth.
He begins by referring to the generosity of the Christians in Macedonia. The region of Macedonia formed northern Greece, whereas the city of Corinth was at the southern tip, near Athens. When Paul refers to the Christians in Macedonia he is referring primarily to the churches at Thessalonica and Philippi.
The Macedonian churches had been very generous in their giving. Their motivation was the generosity of God’s grace that had been poured out upon them (v. 1). They were living in “deep poverty”, but they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability (vv. 2-3).
They gave without being asked. In fact, they pleaded to have the privilege to show their thankfulness to God in a material way (v. 4). The Macedonian Christians “first gave themselves to the Lord” and then gave financially to Paul, as is God’s will (v. 5).
Paul recognized the need for money to do God’s work in Corinth and sent Titus to appeal to the church there (v. 6a). Titus had already visited the church and had brought up the matter of financial giving (v. 6b). Now Paul is writing that he is sending Titus again to encourage action on the part of the Christians there (v.6c). Paul writes that since they excel in obeying God in all other ways, he is sure that they will obey God in their giving (v. 7).
Giving has always been a part of God’s plan for His followers, dating back to the Old Testament. The Hebrews were commanded to bring gifts to the Levites, who were in charge of the tabernacle and the doing of God’s work.
God does not need our money, our talents, or anything else to accomplish His will. If we do not give of ourselves to His work, He will find others, who have the hearts of the Macedonians, who will willingly, without being asked, carry out His work.
The Macedonians were “imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints” (v. 4). They already had experienced the grace of God and desired continued blessing. They were excited at giving to further the work of ministering to the saints, their fellow Christians.
So giving to churches and parachurch ministries such as this that minister to Christians should come from a heart that is thankful for God’s blessings. He does not need your donations. He will find someone else. But you will lose out on his blessing.
This passage says “they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” Giving should come out of our commitment to God in all the other areas of our lives. It should be a natural part of the overall giving of ourselves to Christ.
Giving to the work of the Lord is a sign of a faithful Christian. Paul closed this passage with words to the Corinthian Christians that also apply to each of us – “see that you abound in this grace”, the grace of giving.