2 Corinthians 8
1 – 2
And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God gave the churches in Macedonia. They have been tested by great troubles. And they are very poor. But they gave much because of their great joy.
The poor always give more than the rich because they know what it is like to need even simple things.
3. I can tell you that they gave as much as they were able. They gave even more than they could afford. No one told them to do it.
God does not ask you to give more than you are able.
4. But they asked us again and again they begged us to let them share in this close fellowship for God’s people.
Paul did not want to take it but they wanted to be part of what the original language calls close fellowship in the Holy of Holies.
5. And they gave in a way that we did not expect: They first gave themselves to the Lord and to us. This is what God wants.
Giving yourself is more important than giving money. If you only give money and not yourself, then you did not give a real offering.
6 – 7
So we asked Titus to help you finish this special work of grace. He is the one who started this work.
You are rich in everything—in faith, in speaking, in knowledge, in truly wanting to help, and in the love you learned from us. And so we want you to be rich also in this gift of giving.
Paul reminds them that they have been very proud of how they have so many gifts of the Spirit. He wants them to remember that giving is also one of the gifts of the Spirit.
8. I am not forcing you to give. But I want to see if your love is true love. I do this by showing you that others really want to help.
When people are pushed to give money to the Lord something is wrong. God does not need their money. God is more interested in how we treat people. If we cannot trust the Holy Spirit to tell people to offer something to the Lord than we are out of step with the Spirit.
All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their free will offerings to the LORD. Exodus 35:21
9. You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. You know that Christ was rich, but for you He became poor. Christ did this so that by his being poor you might become rich.
If you do not pay your bills you are stealing from the place where you owe money. If you do not provide for your family, you are stealing from your family.
If there is anything left over God may ask you to give some of it to somebody who has nothing. You will become poor this way but that is between you and God. 1 Timothy 5:8
10 – 11
This is what I think you should do: Last year you were the first to want to give. And you were the first who gave. So now finish the work that you started. Then your “doing” will be equal to your “wanting to do.” Give from what you have.
Paul says, “It has been a year! Now let us go do it!” This reminds us of when God told Moses to stop praying about it and get busy. Exodus 14:15-16
12. If you want to give, your gift will be accepted. Your gift will be judged by what you have, not by what you do not have.
Do not do give if you feel pressured. The original language says that this gift was full of unusual joy. This kind of giving means you are thinking of a child who got something to eat or that somebody was delivered from darkness and it makes you feel so good that you feel like jumping! If you have no joy when you are giving it spoils the gift and makes it smell bad.
13 – 14
We do not want you to have troubles while other people are at ease. We want everything to be equal. At this time you have plenty. What you have can help others who are in need. Then later, when they have plenty, they can help you when you are in need. Then all will be equal.
It would not be right to sit at God’s table and only feed certain people and leave the others hungry. God gives us a test sometimes to see what we will do when He shows us a need. Many times it happens that we are able to help someone and later they are able to help us.
15. As Moses wrote, “The person who gathered more did not have too much. The person who gathered less did not have too little.”
Paul is reminding them that the people, who kept more manna than they needed, woke up in the morning and found that it had turned into worms. Exodus 16:18
16 – 19
I thank God because He gave Titus the same love for you that I have. Titus accepted what we asked him to do. He wanted very much to go to you. This was his own idea.
We are sending with him the brother who is praised by all the churches. This brother is praised because of his service in preaching the Gospel.
lso, this brother was chosen by the churches to go with us when we deliver this gift of money. We are doing this service to bring glory to the Lord and to show that we really want to help.
Many ministries have gone bad because they did something wrong with the Lord’s money. It is better to be safe than sorry later. The ministry needs to remember that we are handling God’s money, not our own money.
20 – 22
We are being careful so that no one will say something bad about us as we collect this large gift.
We are trying to do what is right. We want to do what the Lord accepts as right and also what people think is right.
Also, we are sending with them our brother who is always ready to help. He has proved this to us in many ways. And he wants to help even more now because he has much faith in you.
Do not give the devil an opening to accuse us of not using God’s money in the right way. Paul is sending three brothers to make sure that the devil cannot accuse the ministry.
23 – 24
Now about Titus—he is my partner who is working with me to help you. And about the other brothers—they are sent from the churches, and they bring glory to Christ.
So show these men that you really have love. Show them why we are proud of you. Then all the churches can see it.
We want our churches to be known by the way they love each other. This is more important than showing the world that we disagree about smaller details that we read in the Bible.