2 Corinthians 8:1-4 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
The Apostle Paul used the example of the Macedonian churches as a testimony of how powerful the grace of God is to create properly motivated giving. Grace had impacted the hearts of the Macedonians to be willing to give beyond their ability, beyond their means, without thought of themselves. In spite of their troubles and destitute financial condition they experienced an abundance of joy and an outpouring of generosity in their giving. This was sacrificial giving and this type of giving confronts the heart attitudes of the culture which we live in that is full of greed, covetousness, debt, credit madness, and the accumulation of things.
There is often a spirit of poverty behind these attitudes. Poverty is not only a curse and a mindset, but poverty can also be a spirit, specifically the spirit of fear. It’s a spirit that’s characterized by a fear of not having which causes you to clutch to what you have for fear of never getting more. A poverty spirit is also manifested in covetousness which is a desire to have more and more and never being content; getting all you can and holding to all you get.
An interesting thought is that you don’t have to be poor to have a poverty spirit but can also have money but be gripped by fear. A poverty spirit can hinder, interrupt, and can even stop your service to God like it did the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-23. He wasn’t poor but was gripped by fear and couldn’t trust God. The way you break the hold of that spirit is by acting against it with actions of giving. You can pray until you’re blue in the face, but it’ll never break the hold of this spirit until your FAITH gets INTO ACTION and GIVES.
Outward circumstances and present difficulties should not hinder our generosity in giving. The Macedonians gave while in deep poverty not abundance (2 Corinthians 8:2). They did it willingly because they wanted to give not had to give (v.3) and their giving far exceeded their means or financial ability.
They weren’t hyped by being presented a “special blessing or breakthrough,” they’d receive if they gave. They weren’t offered a “special prophecy or prayer,” if they gave. They weren’t manipulated to give by using a Scripture reference such as Psalm 103:2 to give an offering of $103.20 (I always wonder why they don’t use a reference like Psalm 1:1). They gave willingly and begged for the opportunity to participate in the offering (v.4). As a result they experienced the joy of generosity by the grace of God. Grace can empower this kind of giving that breaks the hold of the spirit of poverty and leads to a spirit of generosity.