"Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality" (II Cor-inthians 8:1-2).
Giving gifts is usually done in times of plenty, rather than in times of great need. Yet, in this situation, the churches of Macedonia, in spite of being afflicted, were blessed by God's grace to give--not until it hurt, but until it gave great joy. What a peculiar contradiction, that when times are at their worst, we can be at our best!
This spirit of giving is a result of God's grace. It results from a right relationship with God and a heart attitude that is committed to Him. Once our hearts are committed to the same priorities as those of God and our desires and burdens are motivated by His Spirit, He will not withhold the privilege of joyful giving to accomplish His purposes.
The "abundance" in giving is measured by the situation--what we are willing to do without respect for our own needs. The widow's mite was valued more than the rich men's gifts, because she "cast in all the living that she had" (Luke 21:4). What is our record in similar situations? Have we ever given all we have--not counting the cost?
Like it or not; practice it or not; God's timeless admonitions to wise men are as follows: "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat" (Proverbs 25:21). "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days" (Ecclesiastes 11:1). "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself" (Proverbs 11:25). "He which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (II Corinthians 9:6).
May our God of all grace enable us to give until it gives us great joy! KBC