Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 30th June 2024: Generosity

Grace Giving 2 Corinthians 8 Corinth Christians

Reading : Verses from 2 Corinthians, Chapter 8

Money in hand

Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.

I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something—now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,

‘The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


During my time in ministry I have spent hours raising money for churches: for a new church roof, a church car park, or repair the bells. Alongside were community fund-raisers for foodbanks, or those suffering overseas. I have walked miles; done a 24 hour singing marathon; cycled to 22 churches; taken part in a 24 knitting marathon; and sung 100 anthems. All to raise money for a project. I have also sat in cold churches on Gift Days and looked at the six-foot "thermometer" showing what we had achieved.

St Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth. He's appealing to the Gentile Christians to give money to help relieve the poverty of the Jerusalem church (after persecution) and as a good-will gesture from Gentiles to Jewish believers. Corinth was one of the wealthiest cities in the Empire, situated on an isthmus with ports on either side, it was the capital of Achaia, and a centre of finance. The Corinthian christians had begun to give, but after internal problems had stopped.

Paul starts the beginning of this section talking of grace (2 Corinthians 8.1-4) and the generous giving of the Macedonians to those in Jerusalem. He then reminds them of all that Jesus had given up to help them. He encourages them to give within their means - out of their comparative wealth they can ease the burden on the "saints" (ie christians) in Jerusalem.

It's God's grace that allows us to give generously and with a smile. But when did we last review our giving to God's work? Do we only give when we go to church, in which case this needs to be put right, for even a small amount through the bank monthly or weekly will make a difference. Tax-payers who buy online in the UK, do you give gift aid to your Church through a charity site like 'Easyfundraising' ( who partner with over 7,000 businesses to allow you to give to a charity of your choice. It delights me to give £17 gift-aid to my local church when I renew my annual car insurance, or smaller amounts from shops - it's a lot easier than doing marathons!


Lord Jesus Christ,
we thank You that You gave
up so much to be born as a man
and to live and die for us.
May we never forget how much we owe You,
and in return may we be as generous
as we are able,
to help Your work in the Church
and in the world.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to be reminded about Corinth - it's a long, but interesting article:

Or how about reading this and making a loan of £15 (or more) to help a small business person or farmer, somewhere in the world:

  • I loan to - which is a charity. I originally loaned £11 to help a small farmer buy seed (you get to choose someone and are told all their circumstances, and slowly they pay it back in tiny amounts. When it was paid back I passed the loan on to someone else. Over time I increased the money. It's exciting to see what happens to them, and you are part of a large group all paying small amounts to make whatever total amount they need. I have never had a defaulter yet! The first loan is now £15. (Let me know if you do it, and about your experience!)
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