2 Cor 8:9 "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich."
This chapter is the beginning of two chapters of Paul's encouragement to the Corinthian church to be generous. Apparently the church had a desire a year earlier to start saving for a large gift that was going to be another church that was in need. This gift was going to be administered through Titus, a guy that everyone trusted.
I find it interesting that Paul actually uses a significant portion of this letter to encourage people to give. He doesn't run from this. He doesn't flinch. He doesn't beat around the bush. He comes right out and says: "abound in this grace (of giving) as well". Not only that but he says: "I am testing how sincere your love is by showing you what other people have done." And then the clincher: "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ…". This was it. Even though the church in Macedonia had been generous in giving, Jesus was their, and our, ultimate example. And here it is:
Though He was rich. When we are talking rich, this was rich. The word for rich actually means "abounding in material resources". It also means "abounding in Christian virtues and eternal possessions". Let's face it, Jesus had it all. As God in heaven, He was the possessor of all things, material and spiritual. He had it all. He could not get anything more because He owned it all…everything. But look at what He did. He was willing to give it all up. He was willing to leave the splendor that was heaven and all that it contained and all that He owned to come down to earth. He gave up all of the stuff that was in heaven…and believe me there is a lot of stuff in heaven. And He gave up something even more significant. He gave up his position. He let go of some of His attributes as God. He did not eliminate them. He did not get rid of them. He simply suppressed them and He became a man. He came to a very dirty, ugly, poor, needy place and took on a very humble birth and lived a humble, simple life and died a very painful death. He became poor. The word for poor actually means: "beggar". He went from total contentment, total wealth, total power, total position, to total poverty.
Why? Why would He do this? So we could be made rich. So we could have abundance. So we could be richly supplied. And when this word rich is used, it is used in a material sense but also in a spiritual sense now owning eternal possessions. Jesus gave it all up so we could have it all. The problem was, the Corinthian church was balking at giving. The problem is, we also balk at giving. We even balk at talking or preaching about it.
It is interesting, but I heard the other day that the average believer gives 3% of their income. Crazy. Those of us who really have a lot only give 3%...when the starting point is 10%. Just imagine what could be done if people who claim to be Christians gave 10%. We would significantly impact our world. But, we like to hang on to our stuff. We think that we can't do without. We act like the Corinthian church and hesitate.
I am sure glad that Jesus didn't think that way.