Yesterday I started a series of posts on our church looking at 2 Corinthians 8 together during our times of offering. Since I started a week later, you get two posts this week on the topic.

To recap: The first verse reminds us of the great grace that we have been given in our lives.

Next comes verse 2:

“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.”

Now, I am not a mathematician. In fact, its a little known fact that I actually got an “F” in 8th grade math and somehow still graduated Jr. High. But let’s think about about the equation that is presented here:

Severe trial + Overflowing joy + Extreme poverty = Rich Generosity.

Huh. To be fair, I often associate joy with generosity.

But, I don’t usually associate trial and poverty with a generous heart.

Our culture of self-focused individualism seems to preach that when things get hard you have to buckle down and take care of yourself. We even give each other permission to do just this.

When is the last time you said or heard, “Well, things are rough you’ve gotta take care of yourself first.”

I think maybe its the airline industry that is to blame, “Be sure to fasten your own mast before you help fasten the masks of others.” (It’s okay to blame the airline industry, they are charging us $25/each extra bag!)

But seriously, what a witness this was for the Macedonian churches to be full of generosity even in the midst of severe trial and extreme poverty.