SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Churches from other places gave generously while in a severe trial of poverty.
- Paul wanted to know if the Corinthian group would be generous and follow through on the promises they had made. Paul encourages them to excel in giving.
- Paul says that he doesn’t want them to be hard pressed and others relieved but wants there to be equality. When the Corinthians have plenty they can supply what others need and vice versa.
- Paul is sending Titus to Corinth and wants him to be welcomed.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- When you’re in financial hardship are you likely to hold tightly to what is ‘yours’? The churches in Macedonia realized nothing is theirs', it's all God's, so they fought this temptation and gave to others who were also hurting financially.
- God calls us to put our trust in Him instead of money. When we do that, we're able to loosen our grip on money and start to be generous with it, giving back to God and to those in need.
- We are to "excel in the grace of giving" (verse 7). Paul says one of the ways we can test the sincerity of our love is by looking at how much we give (verse 8).
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- In one of the passages we’ve read before (Luke 12:22-34) Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We tend to spend our money on the things we value most. So if someone examined how you spent your money, what would they say you value most? Would how you use your money show that you truly value God? And if you want God to be a bigger part of your life, what would that say about how you need to change how you invest your money?
- What would it look like for you to "excel in the grace of giving"? When will you start to live that way?