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Give like the Macedonians

Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1-9

They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. (v. 4 NLT)

I once had a wealthy person tell me that two different fundraisers had asked her for money by complaining about people who didn’t fulfill pledges they had made. She hadn’t felt positive about this and wanted to know if I used a similar tactic.

I do not. I think that approach is fundamentally misguided in several ways. However, I do like Paul’s approach in 2 Corinthians 8: he encourages the Corinthian believers to give by citing a positive example.

The Macedonian churches—the churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea—were poor and persecuted. They also were joyful and generous. What a great model, not just for the church in Corinth but for all churches. The Macedonians gave beyond their means without being asked—they actually begged for the privilege of giving, instead of waiting to be asked (v. 4). They were a fundraiser’s dream come true. If everyone gave like them there would be no need for fundraisers.

Paul refrains from issuing a command to give. He was acutely aware of the Pharisees’ sort of giving that Jesus commented on (like in the story of the widow’s mite). Their giving had devolved into legalism. Paul wants the Corinthians (and, by extension, us) to discover giving as a joyous and joyful privilege. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, ask God to show you how to follow the example of the Macedonians.

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About the Author

Jeff Munroe is the editor of the Reformed Journal and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.

This entry is part 10 of 15 in the series Living Generously