2 Corinthians 8:1-24
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.
8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others.
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened;
14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality.
15 As it is written, “HE WHO GATHERED MUCH HAD NOTHING LEFT OVER, AND HE WHO GATHERED LITTLE HAD NO LACK.”
16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus.
17 For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord.
18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches,
19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind,
20 avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us—
21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you.
23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.
24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.
One of the greatest ways to access the gift of God’s power is quite apart from focusing on receiving. The nature of God is instead discovered by a heart that is opened through liberality in giving. In considering whatever we do have as effective in God’s hands to minister to the needs of others, we can participate in His very provision for them. While there is joy in the receiving of a blessing, true Godly joy takes on a whole other level when the blessing is given. This really is the much better experience of God’s grace, when the emptying of our resources participates in His working on behalf of someone else. This is the example we get from Jesus’ life. He freely poured out His riches so that the emptying of His life could produce eternal life for us. It’s in this example that we can find the way to truly living in the abundance of life Jesus came to give. Verse 5 indicates that the will of God we discover in His presence is the demonstration of love in establishing a legitimate relationship with His body. Whenever there is lack or injury in one part of the human body, the rest of the body will give up its own resources to insure the health and strength of the compromised part. It’s not until all is prospering that there can be health and unity for all. The mind is most at peace and rest when none is lacking in its nourishment.
There is grace available and ready to go into action for all the things that might seem more “spiritual” – faith, speech, knowledge, diligence, and love. It will be known when this grace is accessed and it will also be obvious when it is not. Grace is activated when we simply offer up whatever is ours to give in one area with expectation of God’s gift of grace to make something worthwhile of it. The offering up is up to us – the power is up to Him = grace. Ensuring that this grace is experienced is not up to Him – He is faithful to the end. Living the reality of grace will be the direct result of emulating a poured out life for the rich provision in others.
Verse 2 in The Passion Translation says, “For even during a season of severe difficulty and tremendous suffering, they became even more filled with joy. From the depths of their extreme poverty, super-abundant joy overflowed into an act of extravagant generosity. ”
We have an opportunity to give freely and generously from a place of joy regardless of how large or small we are able to give. As we do so, God’s grace and abundance abounds, and our needs are met time and again. Praise God! What an honor it is to partner together with God in this way and from the place of a joyful heart assured of God’s promises.