Now I am no commentator, and I don't have a Ph.D. in Theology. But I do want to observe a few things from my text this morning.
2 Cor 8: 1 - 7 1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,
The churches of what we today know as Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albani, and Greece had discovered a gift from God. A grace to give.
2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
These were people who were neither rich or affluent. In fact, many were poor. But from their abundance, they gave. It doesn't mean that they gave huge offerings. It says that they were generous with what they had.
3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,
They didn't give irresponsibly. They gave by faith. Even when that faith asked them to give beyond, they did so. No one forced them to do it. They believed that God was the provider of everything they had.
4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
These people were giving to help the word in Judea. Many people were hungry and suffering. They wanted to do something about it, so they gave. But notice the order. They gave themselves first to the Lord. Giving always puts God first.
6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.
So Paul was sending Titus to receive an offering that apparently they had either promised to receive or were in the process of doing.
7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.
If you excel in faith, teaching, preaching, telling others your story about Jesus. If you excel in understanding the Word of God and of your knowledge about Jesus. If you excel in mercy, love, and grace. Then see to it that you excel in giving too.
God comes first. When you put Him first in our life, you will notice the difference.
PRAY: Dear Jesus, I will put you first in my life today. AMEN