We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you— see that you excel in this act of grace also.
I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 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. ~ 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 (ESV)
Paul is telling about the churches of Maccedonia who give generously even through they were going through severe trails and being in extreme poverty. They still gave above and beyond their means in order to help their fellow saints. They did this because of their overflowing joy that they had in Jesus. It was on their own free will.
This is the formula that Pastor Ryan pointed out to us.
severe trail + overflowing joy + extreme poverty= rich generosity
Pastor Ryan said it is harder for most of us in the United States to relate to having overflowing joy while dealing with severe trails and living in extreme poverty. I have been bless to experience this made of giving while I was in the Philippines. Jo Anne and I went to visit family and friends as I was there. Every house we visited we were order food and drink. I could tell that in some cases this was perhaps more then they could really give to us. They had rich generosity due to their overflowing joy for the things God done for them.
The giving I witnessed in the Philippines is a great example of how are giving should be. Giving is a issue of the heart. We give in response to what God has done for us. God provides for our needs.
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. ~ 1 Timothy 6:17 (ESV)
All that we have in this life comes from God. We should put our trust in him and not in the things of this world. It is because of God's grace that we give dissipate our circumstances. We are able give with eagerness and enthusiasm as Paul saw the churches in Macedonia and as I saw the people of the Philippines give.
In my life I have always said that I want only enough money to provide for my family's needs and a few comfort things. I want to be able to help people who are less fortunate then me.