“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
“Two of the Loveliest Flowers”
(Please read 2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
Our title is from Burton Coffman’s commentary on the text passage. He writes: “What an astounding thing it is that ‘two of the loveliest flowers of Christian character, joy and liberality,’ should bloom in the Macedonian poverty fields.” He attributes the inner quote to a previous commentary by R.V.B. Tasker.
Apparently civil wars and persecutions had made the plight of Christians in Macedonia extreme, even in an age when poverty was the norm.
Paul could hardly say enough to emphasize how remarkably those Macedonians had responded to a need. He mentioned their great ordeal of affliction and their deep poverty which overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. And he testified that they “gave beyond their ability,” even begging for the opportunity to give.
No doubt there have been people like the Macedonians throughout the history of the church, and much of the spread of Christianity may be attributable to the poor helping the poor.
Is the same generosity displayed by well-to-do Christians like most of us? Perhaps we can arrive at personal answers to that question, but possibly we need to think longer on how nearly the church collectively is living up to the Macedonians’ example.
At almost any given time, our brothers and sisters in some African countries are fighting floods or drought and trying to subsist on one meal a day. Other examples of need could be cited. Only by our reaction to such opportunities can we, and the Lord, know whether we’re growing the lovely flowers of the Macedonians or not.
Let’s tend our gardens and nurture those “two of the loveliest flowers.”