“For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” (2 Corinthians 8:3–5, KJV)
I really do not know of many people who would beg for the opportunity to give money away. Yet it does happen. I remember one time when someone wanted to give me a gift of some money. At the time, I was not desperate from a financial standpoint and indicated that they should keep their gift. The only problem was that they Lord had impressed upon that person’s heart to give me the money. The person insisted on giving the gift to me. While I accepted it graciously, I struggled internally with taking it.
Later I remembered something I heard from a pastor on this issue. He stated that one should never withhold the opportunity for others to receive a blessing through their generosity. He indicated that we needed to develop the grace of receiving gifts from those who feel led to bless us.
Why was it difficult for me to receive the gift? My problem was one of pride. When the Lord impresses upon the hearts to do something, we should never put an impediment in their way. Moreover, nothing will stand in the way of Spirit filled believers in being obedient to the prompting of the Lord in any area.
The believers in Macedonia were indeed struggling financially. Yet there was a need in Jerusalem. The believers there were struggling financially. Paul determined to take collection, a relief fund, for those in Jerusalem. Since the believers in Macedonia were also struggling, Paul likely thought that they were in no position to give to help in this Jerusalem relief effort. However, the believers in Macedonia knew of the effort to help those in Jerusalem and they pleaded with Paul for the privilege to help. They wanted to participate in blessing the saints in Jerusalem.
Paul indicated that this unction to participate by the Macedonians was prompted by the grace of God working in them (2 Cor 8:1). Here Paul wrote of primary motivation of these believers to give. They “gave their own selves to the Lord.” As a result of their devotion to the Lord, they sought to accomplish the will of the Lord in this manner, giving themselves to Paul and his team in the offering.
Even though Paul knew how poor the Macedonians were, he graciously accepted their contribution to the Jerusalem relief fund. He did not want to withhold the opportunity for them to share in the blessing of obedient giving. For this reason, we give all believers the opportunity to give, the rich and the poor, the regular parishioners and the guests, and any believer who desires. It is so they will have the blessing of obedience to the Lord in blessing others.
Do not withhold the opportunity for another to be blessed by extending help to another as they feel led.