The subject of chapters 8 and 9 is a large gift to help the poor Christians in Judea. The gift came from new Christians in several countries where Paul had recently established churches. It took more than a year to collect it, and a team of 8 men took it to Judea*. Paul had previously written about the same gift in 1 Corinthians 16:1-4.
That gift was an extraordinary act of love. By it, Gentile Christians (Christians who were not Jews) gave to help Jewish Christians (Christians who belong to Israel). Christians in the new churches gave to help Christians in the oldest churches. They gave generously to help people whom they would never meet.
Paul also intended that, by that gift, rich Christians would help poor Christians. There were many wealthy Christians in cities like Corinth and Ephesus. So of course Paul expected that they would want to help. However, something extraordinary happened when Paul went among the very poor Christians in Macedonia. These very poor people insisted that they wanted to give, too. When Paul permitted them to give, they gave with the greatest joy.
Paul saw this as an expression of the grace (kindness) of God in them. Godís grace had worked so powerfully in their lives that they were now showing Godís grace to other people too. It was not enough for them that they had benefited from Godís grace; they wanted other people to benefit too.
Like the poor widow in Mark 12:41-44, they gave more than they could afford. Like her too, God considered their gifts to be worth more than even the richest personís gifts*. They gave with right attitudes, willing hearts (minds), and a love that was generous.
* See complete article for these Bible references.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.