Artist: Rend Collective
Yesterday, Pastor Andy invited us into the relationship between joy and generosity – specifically, that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7). Joy and generosity.
Just a page or two before this encouragement to the Corinthian church to give cheerfully, we read this description of churches in a neighboring region:
Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. 2 They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. 4 They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem.5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
2 Corinthians 8:1-5
There they are again. Joy and generosity. Just hanging out together. A bit like milk & Oreos. Or peanut butter & jelly. Or bacon & eggs. Or chips & salsa. Or…you get the idea.
Joy & generosity. They just go together.
I think I’ve always sort of heard “God loves a cheerful giver” as a command. I’m called to give, to be kind, to be generous. And I’d better do it with a smile on my face – because God likes that. Joy is something I add to my generosity, because I’m supposed to. And, sure, at times, there’s an element of that. We call it obedience.
But this passage paints a slightly different picture. For these believers, joy is not something they tack on to their generosity. Joy is what leads to their generosity (v 2).
And it all starts with God’s kindness (v 1).
It’s interesting. Paul’s careful to point out that these Christians don’t have a whole lot going for them: many troubles, and very poor (v 2). But God’s kindness cuts through all of that. God’s kindness fills these Christians in Macedonia with joy. And that joy finds its natural expression in generosity.
Kindness, joy, & generosity.
It’s March Kindness at Cross Points. And we’re looking for opportunities to be generous – to walk in obedience to the command to be kind to one another.
But today, can I invite you to do something else as well? Pause from the responsibilities of your day and remember God’s kindness. Think about what God has done for you in Jesus, let it fill your heart fill with joy, and watch what happens when it overflows. And maybe enjoy some milk & oreos while you’re at it.