In our study of 2 Cor 8:1-24, we find Paul encouraging the Corinthians to “perform the doing of it,” [2 Cor 8:11] regarding giving to the poor saints in Jerusalem [Gal 2:9-10; Rom 15:25-26]. He told them to perform the doing of it because:
The churches of Macedonia had given – 2 Cor 8:1-5 – Their giving was a testament to the grace of God [v.1]. They were in a great trial of affliction and deep poverty, yet they had an abundance of joy that abounded to the riches of their liberality [v.2]. They gave liberally when they didn’t have the resources to give and they rejoiced to do it by God’s grace. They went above and beyond [v.3] in their giving. Their poverty was so bad that they had to intreat Paul to take their gift and allow them to minister to the saints [v.4]. Their giving was generous because they first gave themselves to the Lord [v.5]. If you first give yourself to the Lord, which is God’s will [Rom 12:1-2], then it’s not so hard to give your finances.
Titus was coming to receive their gift – 2 Cor 8:6-8 – Titus received the gifts. As he had begun in Macedonia, he would finish in Achaia [v.6]. Paul exhorted them that they should abound in the grace of giving as they had abounded in faith, utterance, knowledge, diligence and love [v.7]. Paul encouraged them give like the others and to prove the sincerity of their love [v.8]. Certainly, if you sincerely love someone, you are willing to give to them [Jn 3:16].
Our Lord Jesus Christ gave – 2 Cor 8:9 – Jesus became poor that we might be made rich. Paul wanted them to follow his example. Jesus inherited everything as a result of his grace to us. And God promised us an inheritance with him. In Prov 19:17 God said that when one lends to the poor, God will pay him again. In Matt 19:21, Jesus promised the rich man theat if he fave to the poor, he would have treasure in heaven.
They were willing to give a year ago – 2 Cor 8:10-11 – a year ago they were willing to give and had begun. Now, it was time to perform the doing of it [v.11]. Paul said, “so, there may be a performance.” In essence he was telling them to do what they intended to do.
They had the resources – 2 Cor 8:11-12 – giving starts with a willing mind. And then God accepts what you give from what you have. In other words, a person who has little has enough to give something. He doesn’t have to wait until he has more, or what he considers to be sufficient, to give to others. In 1 Ki 17:12-15 the widow only had enough for her and her son. But she had enough to give. She gave to Elijah and they had enough every day for all three of them. The Macedonians were a great example of giving from poverty. If you aren’t going to give from what you have, you won’t give from what you hope to have.
Their gift would supply the poor saints’ want – 2 Cor 8:13-15 – Paul’s desire was not to burden them and ease Jerusalem. It was to provide equality where Jerusalem and Corinth would both have enough, just like meting out the manna in the wilderness [Ex 16:16-18]. Water seeks its own level. This was the same principle as Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37.
Their gift would be secure – 2 Cor 8:16-23 – Corinth might have been reluctant to trust Paul with this much money. Titus went to them [16-17]. Another brother was sent. He had a good report in the gospel and he was chosen to travel with them [18-19]. This way they could provide assurance to the Lord and men that they were not stealing any of the money [20-22]. A third brother traveled with them who was diligent in all things [v.22]. Paul wanted them to know that Titus was his partner and fellow helper and the other two brothers were messengers of the churches [v.23]. They had “triple control” of the funds.
Their gift would prove their love and Paul’s boasting – 2 Cor 8:24 – Paul exhorted the Corinthians to shew these three brothers and the other churches the proof of their love [v.8] and the proof of his boasting of the Corinthians. Obviously, he was telling others that they could count on Corinth to give liberally.
Conclusion: the poor saints in Jerusalem had to rely on these other churches to help them. The Corinthians certainly had enough resources to help out. But Paul wanted to make sure that they would give generously because the need was obviously great. Therefore, he stirred them up by reminding them of the liberality of the churches of Macedonia, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the willingness of their own minds, and the expectation of others based on Paul’s boasting. He assured them that their offering would be used solely for the purposes intended.