What does it say? The Macedonian believers and the Lord Jesus Himself modeled sacrificial giving. Paul said that financial giving is related to the grace of God.
What does it mean? Several principles about giving can be taken from this passage. First, generosity isn’t connected to outer circumstances; the Macedonians gave out of their poverty because they first gave themselves to God. Secondly, giving is an act of grace. The grace shown to the believer by the death of Christ is the motivation for gracious giving. In love, He gave all He had. Next, the amount given is not as important as the desire to give and the willingness to follow through. As always, God is concerned with the heart. Finally, the manner in which money is handled should honor God and be above reproach.
How should I respond? It’s difficult to feel generous while juggling to take care of your own finances. But giving financially to the local church and believers in need is the responsibility of every Christian. How has God been gracious to you this year? This week? Today? Have you, in turn, given yourself completely to Him? You can’t rightly surrender what’s in your hands until you’ve surrendered your heart. How can you be generous to someone in need today? Developing the grace of giving will benefit you as much as it does the receiver of the gift.