… in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 2 Corinthians 8:2
I wonder if you feel like your circumstances have left you with nothing to give. Maybe you feel depleted, barely able to hang on. Your scarcity may be financial, relational, or even emotional, but it really doesn’t matter. Your stores are empty. You don’t have what you need, never mind the ability to give to anyone else.
Can you relate, dear one? If so, perhaps that empty place is the perfect place for you to be.
Let’s see if you really pay attention to what you read. In our opening scripture, what did the Macedonian churches’ wealth of generosity flow from?
Yes. You read it right. Extreme poverty.
In the natural world, that sentence doesn’t even make sense. By definition, poverty represents lack. It means want or extreme need. Scarcity, shortage, deficit, and debt are all synonyms.
Beloved, extreme poverty means not having enough for yourself. So how can what you don’t have provide what somewhat else needs?
Yet that’s precisely how scripture describes these churches. Extreme poverty overflowed into wealth. Their own lack became generous provision for others. How?
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Our God of the impossible makes lack overflow into provision. It doesn’t make sense to the natural mind. It seems unbelievable. But that doesn’t make it any less true.
Take a moment to ponder Jesus’ words from Luke 6:38.
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
You and I need to understand this biblical truth, beloved. If we want to receive from God, He requires us to give.
If you need money, give to someone in need. If you need comfort, comfort someone else. If you need forgiveness, forgive. If you desperately need to feel love, be the one who gives it. And God promises that He will return what you give back to you. With good measure, pressed down and running over, He will put into your own lap the very thing you have given.
Because giving—particularly from lack—requires a little something from us. It requires faith. And faith moves God to pour out grace.
That, dear one, is how lack overflows into wealth. When we trust God by giving what we don’t have, the God of overflow fills the void to provide it.
Let’s look at a few scriptures relating God to overflow.
He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people? Psalm 78:20
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5
Beloved, God alone can make your cup overflow, even when enemies threaten to take everything. His presence made water flow from solid rock to provide for His thirsty people in the desert. He longs to show His overflow in your desert places. But He waits for you to exercise a little faith.
Jesus released God’s overflow when He fed five thousand men—plus women and children—with only five loaves and two fish. But do you know when that food multiplied, dear one? When the disciples trusted Jesus by giving the little they had in their hands away.
Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Matthew 14:19-20
Twelve disciples gave from their lack. They each went home with a basket of left overs—pressed down, shaken together and running over.
Oh beloved. Let’s not wait to give from our abundance. Giving from poverty releases God to reveal Himself.
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4
And she alone experienced God when He gave her more.