In … severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
2 Corinthians 8:2
Trial, joy, poverty, generosity. What a strange combination of words to describe these people! Actually, these words describe a cluster of small churches in Macedonia, north of Greece. Even though these people were poor, they gave generously, reflecting God’s great love, for the needs of others.
As a retiree I often say, “I’m on a fixed income.” But these believers were on a shrinking income or had no income at all. They showed that joy has nothing to do with income— and evidently generosity has little to do with poverty. They faced circumstances that were severe and extreme with attitudes that were overflowing and rich.
Paul reminded his readers in Corinth (south of Macedonia) that in the past they too had shown complete earnestness and eager willingness in giving. None of this seems normal. And it isn’t. Paul explains what made it all possible. “We want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.” And he tells them, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
God’s overflowing grace ignited the people’s overflowing joy. God’s rich grace sparked their rich generosity. God’s grace isn’t severe, but it is certainly extreme. If we concentrate on that grace, joy and generosity will flow richly from deep within us too.
God of abounding grace, we pray today for overflowing joy, rich generosity, complete earnestness and eager willingness—all by your grace. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!