2 Corinthians 8: The Generosity of Christ
Where does true generosity come from?
Paul’s generosity rose out of his love for God. His desire to provide for the poor in a material way stemmed from his Christlikeness and his gratitude for Christ’s generosity on our behalf.
We see this clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Because of what Christ has done for us, generously pouring out His life and bearing our sin so that we might have eternal life, we can manifest that same love through our own generosity.
In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul commends the Macedonians for demonstrating their spiritual maturity through their financial generosity. They gave sacrificially out of their love for one another. In their faith, they chose not to hold on to their earthly wealth but gave it generously for the work of the kingdom of God.
Likewise, we are to give sacrificially and proportionately. It is a sad truth that the more we have, the more we tend to hold on to our wealth. Those whose wealth increases frequently do not increase the amount that they give. They fall prey to the temptation to cling to wealth, hoarding earthly treasures. But the more we have, the more we are called to give.
Our impact is incalculably diffusive—but if we hold on to our wealth, our impact will be small. We cling to the quantifiable and visible instead of the unquantifiable and invisible. We seek the treasure of earth rather than the treasure of heaven.
The Example of Christ
The example of Christ leads us to seek the treasure of heaven. As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”
In this material world, we are pilgrims, just as Christ was. We will experience suffering and trials. But God uses these things to form and forge Christlikeness in us. The more we become like Him, the more generous we become. As we die to our plans and submit to His will, He will grow us and give us comfort in Him.
As you go through this life, ask God to search your heart. Ask Him to reveal where you may be clinging to earthly treasure instead of following Him, and ask that He would cleanse your heart. He is faithful to answer this prayer!
This content on the reliability of the Bible was originally printed in Decision Magazine. False Impressions “I don’t want to take a bath—I’m clean enough!” My impassioned protests as a six-year-old at bedtime were quickly rebuffed by this powerful tool from my parents’ arsenal of guilt-inducing mottoes: “The Bible says that cleanliness is next to godliness!” […]