Day 33

The Collection

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan


2 Corinthians 8:1-24, John 1:1-3, Philippians 2:4-11

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-24, John 1:1-3, Philippians 2:4-11

I like to think I’m a generous person.

I happily give to people and causes that matter to me. My family supports campus ministers, international children’s relief organizations, and our local church. We donate stuff we don’t want or use anymore. We pat ourselves on the back, sometimes share on social media, and then go on our merry way. It doesn’t hurt, and it makes us feel good. But are we generous?

Here’s what we really are: comfortable givers.

Paul is writing to comfortable givers in this chapter of 2 Corinthians. He is fundraising for the Jerusalem fund, a task he mentions throughout his letters as he travels and writes to various Gentile churches. Specifically, he is asking Gentiles (non-Jewish converts to Christianity) to send money for the poor in Jerusalem (likely Jews), which Paul references in Acts 24:17.

In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul tells the wealthy Corinthians about the overflowing generosity of the poor Macedonians for the Jerusalem fund. “They begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints,” he writes of the Macedonians’ eagerness to give (v. 4).

In essence, Paul is describing the Macedonians with an unnatural equation: severe trial + affliction + extreme poverty = abundant joy + wealth of generosity.

This equation can only be true in the math of mercy. Paul has no shame about telling the Corinthians how generously the Macedonians have given, and that he expects them to do the same. He is asking them for money—and a lot of it—using words like “surplus” and “generous.”

But here’s why it seems Paul isn’t afraid to ask for money, why he is bold in telling the Corinthians just how much the Macedonians sacrificed to give: because we learn to give from the great giver Himself, Jesus. Paul is reminding the Corinthians—and us—that when we believe in Jesus, our hearts are molded in the shape of His. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

We love because Jesus loved us first (1 John 4:19). We give because Jesus gave everything for us and to us. And so we don’t just give money; we give ourselves. This can look like radical or everyday hospitality—acts of service on a grand, public scale, or little ones like changing the millionth diaper or washing yet another dish, simply so someone else doesn’t have to.

Generosity isn’t a series of acts or financial decisions. Generosity is a posture, a way of living in the way of Christ. Generosity is worship, an act done in response to the ultimate generosity of our living King Jesus. We don’t give or act generously to feel good or to check a box. We give to respond to Jesus. We give to break our hearts of their grip on material, physical comfort and let them reset in the shape of Jesus’ perfectly generous heart.

We live in a world of self-care and me-time and “treat yo-self.” We are entitled to comfort, or so we believe. When the Bible’s call to radical generosity rubs up against our idol of comfort, it should chafe a little. As members of Christ’s church, we’re called to be more than just comfortable givers. We look to Jesus and we see everything poured out for us. And becoming like Him, as we endeavor to “adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5), means pouring everything out for Him.

SRT-Corinthians-Shareimage-Day33

Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing and reading in Nashville, where she also joyfully serves as the editor of Kids Read Truth. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables.

Post Comments (41)

41 thoughts on "The Collection"

  1. Monica Davis says:

    Give not “treat yo-self”. Love it.

    1. Danize says:

      We must resist to not fall into the greed of wealth and realized it is more gratifying to share among our fellowmen.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    This is so very challenging for me today! What a difference between our culture and our God. We are taught “Me first. My family first.” The Word says your fellow believers first. Others first. Asking myself today- am I a comfortable giver or a Christ like giver?

    1. Julie says:

      But we are called to take care of our family first (1 Timothy 5:8), we just can’t use that as an excuse to not be generous towards others.

      1. Janet says:

        My husband is always giving financially but what I am most proud of is he gives his time to search for others real needs and he listens so that he gives in the right way. Just wanted to add.

  3. truthseeker says:

    This is so good:
    “In essence, Paul is describing the Macedonians with an unnatural equation: severe trial + affliction + extreme poverty = abundant joy + wealth of generosity.
    This equation can only be true in the math of mercy.”

    Wow ! This is an elegant solution which is brought about only by the working of the Holy Spirit in us caused by the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made as He gave His life for us that we may be saved.
    God calls us to do that which is unnatural to human nature – He call us to do that which is natural to His holy nature.

  4. Andrea Scott says:

    Generosity is worship, an act done in response to the ultimate generosity of our living King Jesus.”
    So powerful

  5. Robyn Yates says:

    Excellent words!!

  6. Elle says:

    Wow, what a reminder by Paul! Even though we know with our minds the truth of these verses when it comes to having an servant’s heart, so often our hearts forget or claim amnesia. But praise be to God who reminds us, through Paul, and his words in 2 Corinthians 8:8-9, “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the EARNESTNESS of others that your love also is GENUINE. 9 For you know the GRACE of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for YOUR SAKE he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (emphasis mine) By these verses I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 13 & Luke 6:30-35. This truth remains, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35

  7. Jennifer Martin says:

    ❤️

  8. Annie says:

    I would love prayer for healing. A few weeks ago, I was struck by a car while riding my bike. I am so blessed that I am mostly okay, but I have been recovering from a pretty awful concussion. This led me to a dark place emotionally, where I have had to seek God’s comfort above all else. I appreciate prayers for a renewed heart & mind.

    1. She Reads Truth says:

      Hi Annie, thanks for sharing. We’ll be praying for you as you continue to recover for healing, comfort, and encouragement. So glad that you’re here! -Margot, The SRT Team

    2. DebRN says:

      Dear Jesus, Please touch Annie with your loving presence just now. I, too, love my bike while being mindful of being alone on the bike, accidents and such. I pray that the very public cross You died on reveals the depth of Your love to Annie. Who loves us so much? May this praying community come alongside her in this temporary season of suffering. I thank You even now, as your healing processes are at work. You are loved for yourself, dear Annie. You are precious and beloved.

      1. Annie says:

        Thank you Deb, your prayer means so much!

    3. Michelle says:

      Annie – I will be praying for healing for you

    4. Kat says:

      Hi Annie! Prayers your way as I type. My little sister had post-concussive disorder after a tough soccer fall which resulted in several weeks of unexplained depression – apparently your serotonin levels can be altered as your brain heals, making healing from a concussion a very emotionally challenging experience – not to mention the emotional toll that being in an accident can have (so happy to hear you are safe and healing!!). I would definitely consult with your healthcare provider – sometimes your body and mind just need a little recovery time and sometimes your body needs a little time and a little brain hormone balancing (which, for my sister, came in the form of a temporary dosing of medication).

      Sending over prayers of healing and wisdom for your journey and for the availability of treatment options that uniquely provide you with the best course of action for your emotional and physical healing experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *