A Picture of Rich Generosity
We have now come to the next major section in 2 Corinthians. Let me remind you about how the book is arranged.
- Chapters 1-7 focus on the relationship Paul has with the church. In these chapters, Paul explains what he’s been doing and why he’s been doing it.
- Chapters 8-9 focus on generous and sacrificial giving toward Christian ministry.
- The final four chapters include a defense/vindication of Paul’s ministry and a denunciation of those who opposed him.
So as we begin our consideration of chapter 8, we are a bit more than half way through the book. My plan is to continue working our way through the book, but we’ll take a break in June for our regular Summer Sermon Series.
The first few verses of chapter 8 introduce an offering that Paul is collecting for the poor saints in Jerusalem. Paul thought it was appropriate for the Gentile churches to help the Jewish churches in Israel. Such sharing of needs would draw these churches together in unity. The church at Corinth had agreed to participate in this offering (1 Cor 16:1-4) but had not yet come through with their contribution. In fact, it had been a year since they had agreed to help out with this offering, and yet they had not contributed as of yet. In this passage, Paul is urging the people there to go ahead and collect that offering.
What we see here is a picture of rich generosity. One of the results of God’s gracious work in our hearts is that it makes us generous. A church’s generosity is a measure of its spirituality. Spiritually vibrant churches are generous churches.
Vs. 1 “we make known to you” – the churches of Macedonia are an example of rich generosity (vs. 2 “riches of their liberality”)—“liberality” simply means “sincere generosity.” In spite of their dire poverty, the churches of Macedonia were rich in their generosity.
What does rich generosity look like? Let’s consider how we can be richly generous.