2 Corinthians 8:1-5 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. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
The grace of God impacted the hearts of the Macedonians and their giving showed it. Grace affects our heart and works in us both to will and do of God’s good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). When grace is illuminated to our heart in the area of giving offerings, it changes our motivation from “I’ve GOT to give,” to “I GET to give,” 2 Corinthians 8:1-8; 9:6-10.
Their giving also deepened their dependence upon the Lord. After grace produced sacrificial giving in these believers who were living in poverty (vv.1-4) it caused them to give, “… their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God v.5.” Their lives went more toward the Lord and serving others by the will of God. It takes grace to produce this kind of motivation and attitude toward money, giving, and service.
The Amplified Bible makes these verses even more clear, “For, as I can bear witness, [they gave] according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability; and [they did it] voluntarily, 4 Begging us most insistently for the favor and the fellowship of contributing in this ministration for [the relief and support of] the saints [in Jerusalem]. 5 Nor [was this gift of theirs merely the contribution] that we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us [as His agents] by the will of God [entirely disregarding their personal interests, they gave as much as they possibly could, having put themselves at our disposal to be directed by the will of God.”