Excel in Giving “But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Cor 8:7
The noun charis ("grace") appears ten times in chapters 8—9 It speaks of : spiritual endowment (8:7) divine enablement (8:1; 9:8, 14) a monetary gift (8:6, 19) a human privilege (8:4) a word of gratitude (8:16; 9:15) divine favor or goodwill (8:9)
a)They gave despite their severe circumstances Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 2 Cor 8:2 The noun dokime means a "testing" that proves someone's or something's worth or genuineness. deep poverty, which means "rock-bottom destitution." severe trial
How do we tend to give? We tend to give when we are comfortable. We tend to give when we have spare. We tend to give when we have left over’s. We tend to give when we are in control.
b) They gave joyfully and liberally rich generosity The word that is used for generosity is “haplotetos”. The basic meaning of haplotesis "singleness, simplicity of character, pure heart or sincere intent. Severe Trial + Extreme Poverty + Grace = Overflowing Joy + Rich Generosity
c) They gave entirely on their own For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 2 Cor 8:3-4 they gave entirely on their own Authairetos (autos "self" +haireomai "to choose") refers to something done of one's own accord or by a free choice. In essence, the Macedonians were not pressured into giving. They gave willingly.
urgently pleaded the word used is Parakleseos which means to offer comfort, solace, consolation. Parakletos is the Holy Spirit which means the comforter and interceder. v 4, Koinonia, commonly translated "fellowship" in the New Testament. Where fellowship meant that they also shared in the sufferings of their fellow brethren. And a sharing, the word used is koinonia,
d) They gave themselves first to the Lord And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.” 2 Cor 8:5 Their giving was not an obligation or a duty. Their giving did not depend on their economic situation. Their giving was unto the Lord. Their giving was their service/ ministry unto God. Their giving was because of their commitment to Jesus Christ.
Christ is our model for Giving “I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor 8:8-9
Jesus was generous to become a human being. Jesus was generous to live in poverty. Jesus was generous to go to the cross, suffer, and die to pay our debt of sin to God. Jesus rose three days later in victory over Satan, sin, and death to give us the generous gift of God the Holy Spirit, salvation, and eternal life. Jesus is the most generous giver who has ever lived.