Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—see that you abound in this grace also. —2 Corinthians 8:1-7.
Paul gratefully holds up as an example to the Corinthians the generous and sacrificial attitude and giving of the Macedonian church. They gave willingly, urgently, specifically and compassionately for needy brothers in Christ elsewhere. (We know from the first Corinthian letter that they gave to the poor Christians in Jerusalem.) But first they gave themselves to the Lord. Then they were keen to give to others. Paul’s concern is to urge the Corinthians to do the same, both through the encouragement of Titus and now through his own words. [The Bible Panorama.]