Scripture Reading: Romans 15:22-29
“For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For it the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.” (Romans 15:26,27)
Paul made an appeal to the Macedonian believers to send financial aid to the poor believers who lived in Jerusalem (I Corinthians 16; II Corinthians 8,9). These Gentile believers responded generously — “they were pleased to do it.” Paul’s plan was to deliver these gifts in person to the church in Jerusalem before heading to Rome to visit the believers there.
What is amazing about the generosity of the Macedonians is that they lived in deep poverty themselves and they were experiencing severe trials — “We want your to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in the wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (II Corinthians 8:1-4).
These new Gentile believers, through they lived in times of severe affliction and deep poverty, willingly gave all they could to help their poor brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. They had received God’s grace and now they desired to honor God by giving to the needs of His people. This is an example of gospel generosity.
The gospel by nature demands generosity. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son for it (John 3:16). And what about Jesus? “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 by His poverty might become rich” (II Corinthians 8:9). Remember that God loves a cheerful giver — “Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7).
Gracious and generous God, You did not withhold Your only Son for me. You gave the ultimate in order to redeem me from my sins. Lord Jesus, Lamb of God, You left all Your riches in heaven and came to this earth to save me. You gave up everything for me. Enable me to be a generous person, using my time, talents and treasures to serve You and others.
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