Outrageous Returns!

Recently a Scripture passage stopped me in my tracks. I reread it several times and continued to ponder it for a few days. The passage was from one of Paul’s letters to the church in Corinth.

I’ve bolded the line that caused me to pause and reread it.

“During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. I can testify that, according to their ability and even beyond their ability, of their own accord, they begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints, and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us by God’s will” (2 Corinthians 8:2-5, CSB).

The juxtaposing ideas halted me. I read “abundant joy” and “extreme poverty” referring to the same people. Those aren’t phrases I would initially think of together. It’s apparent the Christians in Macedonia lived as James instructs:

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4, NLT).

As we review the first passage, we can extract the attitudes and actions observed.
•  Be joyful
•  Give despite trials and hardship
•  Give generously
•  Give of your own free will
•  View sharing as a privilege
•  Prioritize the Lord first, then the saints

I see outrageous returns when Paul talks about the effects of their generosity. “Now the one who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will also provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God” (2 Corinthians 9:10-12, CSB).

The bulleted list above is an investment of time, energy, and resources. While the list below indicates the benefits accrued by that investment of generosity.
•  God provides for needs
•  Realize an increased harvest of good
•  Be enriched
•  Ministry needs are met
•  Increased praise and thanksgiving to God

Here are some words of wisdom from others regarding generosity.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” — Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

“The most truly generous persons are those who give silently without hope of praise or reward.” — Carol Ryrie Brink, Caddie Woodlawn

“For it is in giving that we receive.” — Saint Francis of Assisi

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25, NIV).

Dear Reader, is your generosity reflective of the Macedonian Christians? Do you need to have an accountant meeting with the LORD?

Prayer:
Dear Father God, You are good and meet the needs of Your children. You make it possible to be joyful in all circumstances. Holy Spirit, help me overflow with generosity in every area of life even in the midst of trials. Make me remember that everything I have is from You. Guide me in stewarding Your gifts well. Make me a conduit to bless others, generating a harvest that results in praising Your name. Amen.

Author Bio
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.

Would you like to know more about the afterlife and how you can be assured of eternity in Heaven? Check the Questions page.

Check the Free Gifts page for downloadable/printable study guides and resources.

Copyright © 2020-2022 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.

Clock and silver coins image by Tumisu from Pixabay.

Published by musingsofmanettekay

Sharing bits of memoir in the format of devotionals, prayers, short stories, and occasionally a poem.

16 thoughts on “Outrageous Returns!

  1. Andy and Jo Berry, from BerryBunch.family, like to say, “God doesn’t need money to accomplish His work.” They’re right, the Lord doesn’t need money, because everything is already His.

    Great post! God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is correct, David, the very reason we should hold everything loosely rather than tight-fisted and be ready and willing to give generously of whatever He asks. Including a willingness to surrender our children like Abraham.

      Thanks for sharing. Yehovah bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Manette, reading this made me take the Bible and pay careful attention to all that you pointed out in 2Cor 8. What a wonderful lesson in living Christ like. The grace God bestowed on them was reflected on the grace of giving by the church in Macedonia. They gave themselves to the Lord first- the true basis of all Christian giving.
    Thank you Manette for this beautiful message.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Manu, thank you for catching my error. The letter is to the Corinthians but Paul is talking about the church in Macedonia. I will edit my post so that it is correct. I’m glad you liked the lesson.
      Yehovah bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh Manette I did not realise you made that error. I was so caught up in the lesson and got excited that I took my Bible and read from there with your post alongside making notes of the points you mentioned. Anyway am glad you noticed it 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As I read this over several times I find some similarities and good contrasts regarding my recent post on seed sowing; your post shows the proper Godly way to give to those in need without expectation of reward, for it is then that our Father God rewards the faithful ones. We all could learn much from the Macedonian believers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed we can, Alan. I’m still amazed and awed by the fact their generosity came during a severe trial and they were joyful. I confess, when I’m in the midst of a severe trial, being joyful and generous is not my instinctive response.

      Yet, God revealed this so that I can grow. I hope to become more like those Paul boasted of.

      Thank you for reading. Yehovah bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love those bolded words in 2 Cor. 8! For a few years, my wife and I were recipients of financial support while serving the Lord overseas. I’ll always remember a $10 check from a widow that didn’t have a lot of money; it reminded me of the poor widow in Mark 12.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. C.A., thank you. I’m grateful for your words of encouragement. I hadn’t thought of Thanksgiving season rather just thanksgiving in general. “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4, CSB).

      I’ve been literal about “Entering” with thanksgiving when I pray. It has shaped my prayer focus for many years.

      Yehovah bless you!

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: