Here we have a poor church, but not in grace, and a rich church. The poor church was so sold out to the Lord that they gave liberally out of their poverty. Above and beyond. They begged for the chance to pitch in to help the church In Jerusalem. The rich church had verbally expressed a desire to participate but needed to be goaded by this letter and Paul’s emissary Titus to fulfill that intent. I imagine Paul was baffled that a church so poor would rally of their own accord, yet the rich church was hesitating on the sidelines. This entreaty to the Corinthians was apparently necessary to teach the rich to share. And Paul had to send his team in to make sure the church followed through.
Yes, it is possible for a body of believers to be stingy, miserly or more concerned about its own budget to meet the needs of others. Giving under these conditions, I submit, would not be joyful but possibly tinged with guilt and resentment. There is a role for leadership in the process, and that’s to bring the need forward. We read that the Macedonians gave themselves first to God and their leaders (v. 5), responding to the dire predicament of the Jerusalem church as described by Paul. Truth is, the Macedonians qualified for a gracious gift themselves!
Here’s how gracious giving should work:
1. It should be without fanfare.
2. It should be without delay.
3. It should be instigated by God not man.
4. It should be irrespective of circumstances.
5. It should be joyfully done.
6. It should be marked by liberality.
It surely should not take place after being “called up on the carpet!”