A long, long time ago, several churches in the Macedonia Region (modern-day Greece) decided to go deeper in their generosity. They believed in making disciples, and they financially supported one of the greatest missionaries of all time – the Apostle Paul. Their example so impacted Paul that he chose to honor them publicly in his second letter to the church in Corinth. In the above verses there are three things that are noteworthy when it comes to deepening our generosity.
First: They Gave in Affliction. I find it inspiring and convicting that though these churches were experiencing great “affliction” and were facing “extreme poverty,” they didn’t allow their circumstances and lack of resources to keep them from being generous. They had a no-excuses mentality. They continued to be a blessing even when times were tough and we continue to learn from them to this day.
Second: They Gave Joyfully. Generosity is not just about giving but also about the attitude behind our giving. Solomon writes in Proverbs 16:2: “All the ways of a person are clean in his own sight, But the LORD examines the motives.” (Proverbs 16:2 NASB) Paul lets us know that it was not a selfish motive that drove the Macedonians, nor was it an agenda-driven motive; instead, it was a joyful motive inspiring their generosity.
Third: They Gave Beyond their Means. These churches could have made any excuse in the world not to be generous or to give sparingly at this time; however, that was not their pursuit. They decided to give beyond their means and support the church planting efforts of Paul in a big way. They had a Kingdom mentality that resulted in a more profound display of generosity. They chose not to stay on the surface with their giving but to deeper. May we learn from the joyful example of the Macedonians and begin to apply these elements to our own lives.