The Secret to Generous Living

July 19, 2015 ()

Bible Text: 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 |

Series:

There is a secret to generous living: First, give yourself to the Lord and then to His church (2 Corinthians 8:5). To get at the heart of Paul’s message here, we need to put things in their historical context.  Paul extended the gospel throughout the European region known as Macedonia, where he planted the churches that became the most successful of all his ministry, calling them “my joy and my crown” (Philippians 4:1).  But the church planted in the prosperous port city of Corinth became a problematic church; the two letters that Paul wrote to them have the purpose to correct those issues. One issue was that the Corinthians had promised to participate in a general collection for the poor churches of Jerusalem but had failed to fulfill their commitment. So here Paul uses exhorts, or challenges, the Corinthian congregation by comparing them to other churches that have discovered the secret to generous living. Paul seeks to awaken in them the desire to participate in the privilege of giving. Above all, the secret is to live a life devoted first and foremost to the Lord Jesus. How does this message challenge you today? What might be marks of a congregation that have “first given themselves to the Lord”? In what ways might we challenge one another in this pattern of generous living?