Monday, February 1, 2016

A blessed dichotomy

[From January 19, 2016]

"We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have over flowed in a wealth of generosity on their part."
(2 Corinthians 8:1-2)

People love to be around those who are generous.  Initially, I'd venture, it's because we all like to be on the receiving end of generosity.  Who doesn't?!?  But a generous spirit is contagious... captivating... inspiring!  When we spend significant time around generous people, we can't help but want to be generous, too.

The apostle Paul lived a life of generosity.  He reflected the life of Jesus, whose very nature embodied generosity.  In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul lifted up the church in Macedonia as another example of a generous lifestyle.  Though he doesn't give details, he acknowledges they've been through a tough time... a "severe ordeal of affliction."  And though they had little financially, they responded generously and with joy!

The three times I've been to the Philippines, I've been struck by this same dichotomy: extreme poverty (in some areas) surpassed only by their extreme joy... and generosity!  They've taught me so much about what it means to be a Christian!  I want to live into their example of faithfulness.  And I want to help others live into that blessed dichotomy, too.

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