2 Corinthians 8:8-15
Though He Was Rich, He Became Poor
I suppose there are many reasons to give, especially when the object is people who are in need. Even pagans understand and do as much. But here Paul provides the reason why Christians give; and, indeed, if it were the only reason, it would be enough. And Paul states that reason like so: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” In this one statement, Paul has given THE reason why Christians give, and I cannot see how it could ever be improved upon.
Let us pause for a moment to consider this wonderful truth. First, there is the matter of who our Lord is and where he was before he “was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and made man.” Who he is, is God the Son who was ever with the Father from the beginning, or eternity past, as there was never a time when he, the Father, or Holy Spirit were not—the three persons being eternal God. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4). And here we have clearly stated the magnanimous condescension on the part of God the Son who clothed divinity with our humanity, our body, and became one of us. And this he did under no obligation, except to his own promise and word, that he would save fallen man. The early church Fathers said it best: The Son of God became the Son of Man that sons of men might become sons of God. He who was rich (what an understatement that is) became poor so that we who are poor may become rich, so that we might inherit eternal life and enjoy being adopted as sons and heirs of God (Romans 8:17).
And with this truth, Paul encourages the Corinthians to give to their poorer Jewish brethren in Judea. They had begun a year or so prior, were interrupted due to squabbles, but now must finish, and give according to their means. And this is how God wants us to give: Having given ourselves fully unto Him, entrusting our wealth, health, and goods to His care, and meditating on the One who added humanity to divinity and then humbled himself to die a shameful death by the hands of sinful men—having done these things—to give ourselves wholly unto the work of charity, generosity, and pure selfless giving. In doing so, we imitate our Savior and thereby draw closer to him. May we be unafraid to become poor in our purses to become rich in our spirits.