The generosity of the Macedonian believers

24.03.2018

 

Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 

that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 

For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 
2 Corinthians 8: 1-2


 
After having request an offering for of the church in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16), the apostle went to Macedonia, in northern Greece, to the churches of Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. These are communities that are deeply tested in tribulations, but who despite their extreme poverty have irrepressible joy and overflow in generosity. Once again, giving is not a luxury of the rich, but a privilege of the poor. Faced with the need of others, the Macedonians ask the apostles, as it is written “they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive  the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints". They well knew the joy of giving, understood as a means of help for the needy, and therefore participating in the improvement of the condition of others. The grace that God has granted them finds expression also in the capacity to give. Generosity is therefore a reflection of God's grace, very different from a sense of altruism or philanthropy, but the fruit of Christ's work of transformation, totally rooted in love, without which everything becomes useless (1 Corinthians 13).

For some, the theme may seem hostile and even contradictory with the action of God that provides for the needs of all, according to the prayer of our Father: "Give us today ...". Yet we have received "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, being rich, became poor for you, so that through his poverty you could become rich" (verses 9 and 10). He deposed His glory to remedy our condition. The truth, which we do not want to admit, is that in all there is a root of selfishness that mostly prevents love for others from gaining the victory. So let's always be someone else to take care of the poor, sometimes ending up to consider ourselves always in need of receiving. The apostle appeals to everyone's will "because of what one possesses, and not of what he does not have". It is not asked to be reduced to poverty to make up for the needs of others, but it would be enough for everyone to take what they have extra, which they do not use and therefore waste, to make the condition of many others less uncomfortable. Unfortunately we are now so to have everything and more, and we need twice as much if not triple. We live in a world of inequality and disparity.


The Scripture warns us that "whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he will also cry himself, and do not be heard" (Proverbs 21:13). This does not want to be intimidating, nor am I promoting any solidarity project. I believe that if a person wants to do good, just look around to see countless needs, in the context of the Church and not. Only when we do not know how and where to do it, the church and ministers can help in this sense. Then we must trust those who administer and let them distribute according to the needs that each one has gifted, without any qualms. So everyone will give an account of their work, sooner or later. It is amusing to consider how Moses had to restrain the generosity of the people in the collection of material for the construction of the tabernacle (Exodus 36:5-7), while today it is necessary to continuously make appeals to see some small gesture. Surely some are harassed and therefore now exhausted. I remain, however, of the idea that like thunder follows lightning, so giving should follow the action of grace in our lives, without stimuli and / or conditioning. So who can do good do it without hesitation.

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On March 29, 1788, at about eighty-one years, Charles Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, died.
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Devotional 13/2018
Weekly Bible reading plan

26 March   Joshua 22-24; Luke 3
27 March   Judges 1-3; Luke 4: 1-30
28 March   Judges 4-6; Luke 4: 31-44
29 March   Judges 7-8; Luke 5: 1-16
30 March   Judges 9-10; Luke 5: 17-39
31 March   Judges 11-12; Luke 6: 1-26
01 April      Judges 13-15; Luke 6: 27-49

 

 

Photo by Piotr Ciuchta, www.freeimages.com

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