The churches of Macedonia had taken an offering for the churches in Jerusalem who happened to be experiencing a great need. It was absurd (apart from Christ) to think that they might do so, because the Macedonian churches were themselves undergoing persecution and poverty. Paul eloquently captured the beauty of their sacrifice, challenged the Corinthian churches by example, and his words serve to challenge us as well.
During a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity. – 2 Corinthians 8:2
Sometimes the writing of Paul is so rich and beautiful that it overwhelms the spiritual senses. The simple sentence above is one of the best examples, because (to me, at least) it seems to be so absurd.
It wasn’t about the amount of their offering. Rather, the context from which the Macedonians gave both magnified their generosity and marked it as abundant and overflowing. I pray that it is a lesson not lost on any of us. For in Christ we certainly see that the greatness of any gift is measured by the sacrifice of the giver.
The greatest gift is a portion of thyself. – Emerson