A Better Way
Just like last week, I began to read the new Come Follow Me assignment-2 Corinthians 8-13-and I was immediately pulled in.
2 Cor 8: 1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit (meaning we make known to you) of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
So the people of Macedonia are really suffering.This kind of suffering usually results in people thinking of only themselves. This is a natural thing stemming from our "Natural" man. This is the way it has been for me. I haven't yet learned how to be gracious during trial. Or how to be clear. Or charitable. Or outward focused. Or Christ-like. But there's another way to BE during tribulation-in Christ (and I always want to be in Christ, after all)!
This is the Macedonian way. The Grace of Christ enabled them to act differently. They had great joy in their sufferings. This deep physical poverty and profound, intense spiritual wealth enabled them to give richly. That's what grace does-clarifies, enables, empowers, strengthens. It was through Christ and His grace that they overcame their physical limitations and triumphed spiritually! And that's how it can be for me, too.
Barnes Commentary on the Bible:
(1) They were very poor - a fact arising probably from the consideration that the poor generally embraced the gospel first, and also because it is probable that they were molested and stripped of their property in persecutions (compare Heb). Acts 10:34);
(2) Notwithstanding this they were enabled to make a liberal contribution - a fact demonstrating that a people can do much even when poor if all feel disposed to do it, and that afflictions are favorable to the effort; and,
(3) One cause of this was the joy which they had even in their trials.
If a people have the joys of the gospel; if they have the consolations of religion themselves, they will somehow or other find means to contribute to the welfare of others. They will be willing to labor with reference to it, or they will find something which they can sacrifice or spare. Even their deep poverty will abound in the fruits of benevolence.