We are now solidly in the section where Paul beseeches the Corinthians to imitate the generous giving of the Macedonians. This is likely referring to the collection Paul was accumulating for the famine-striken Christians in Jerusalem. Paul’s pitch rivals anything I have ever heard in any church capital campaign!
It is this line that catches my attention today:
The abundance of grace that was given to them (the Macedonians), and the depths of poverty they have endured, have overflowed in a wealth of sincere generosity on their part. (8:2)
I am wondering if these are the two most important elements to being a generous giver.
When we become truly aware of how much grace and how many gifts have been given to us by God, a grateful heart is produced. Maybe gratefulness far outweighs expendable income as a key motivator for lavish giving.
It appears the Macedonians knew what poverty was like. They must have had some lean years themselves. They could relate to the plight of the Christians in Jerusalem. Maybe empathy and compassion goes much further towards producing a generous heart than pity or an intellectual sense of responsibility.