2 Corinthians 8:1-2 (ESV)
1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 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.
2 Corinthians 8 would be a chapter sufficient to destroy all thoughts of prosperity preaching. Paul is writing to ask the Corinthians to give for the relief of saints in need. Later, in the same chapter, he declares that the same could come back to them, and it may happen that those same saints can give to the Corinthians when they are in need. It does not look like a faith-based, get-rich-quick scheme.
What is really cool here is the things that combined to bring about the giving from the Macedonian Christians. Verse 2 shows us three things that are combined: severe affliction, abundant joy, and extreme poverty. What would you expect to come out of that recipe? If you were given severe affliction and extreme poverty poured on top of your joy, what would you do? Well, the Christian’s joy makes all that turn into a wealth of generosity. In our poverty and our pain, we give to others for their relief, to the glory of God.
Christians, we are not to be about hording wealth in this life. We are to spend ourselves, out of joy, for the good of others and to the glory of God. May we become such people. May we never use the faith as a means of earthly financial gain. Instead, may we spend ourselves in this life for the joy of honoring God and for the hope of the life to come.