The grace we’ve received from Jesus can’t just remain a theological idea out there somewhere—we have to connect God’s generosity with our own story.
That’s what happened in the hearts of the Macedonians and that’s why they were so generous.
Look at 2 Corinthians 8:9 (emphasis added)
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
Like the Macedonians, we must make the gospel story a first-person account:
- I was poor, destitute, without God in the world.
- I was cut off from God because of my sin.
- Jesus self-sacrifice paid for my sin.
- He bore my shame and my guilt so that I could receive honor and pardon.
- His poverty made me rich.
This is the greatest news ever: better than people getting into a bidding war over my house when I’ve just put it on the market, better than the stock I have in Apple continuing to go up, better than winning a free all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.
The generous God has given me new life through the death and resurrection of his Son!
Once the Macedonians internalized (and personalized) this generosity from God, look what it then produced in their hearts according to 8:1-2:
And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
In these two verses the grace of God and the generosity of God are used almost interchangeably. What Paul is saying is this: if you want to see whether or not the grace of God has taken up full residence in your heart as a Christian, look at how generous you are with others. A person who has been saved out of total poverty by the generosity of God will then extend tangible mercy to others.
The Gospel IS the generosity of God for YOU and for me. As this generosity of God flows into our hearts, it will transform the way we extend generosity to others.
Here’s a printable list (opens a pdf) of ways God may be calling you and your family to tangible generosity as a response to this example of the Macedonians.