Pacific Union Recorder


October 31, 1907

A Lesson in Liberality—No. 1


To the church in Corinth, Paul wrote: PUR October 31, 1907, par. 1

“Moreover, brethren, we do you to-wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; how that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we should receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God.” PUR October 31, 1907, par. 2

At the time of this writing, the apostle was on a journey, one object of which was to collect means for the relief of the poor saints at Jerusalem. He had established in the Corinthian church, as also in Galatia, a system of weekly offerings, and had enjoined upon Titus, in his visits to the churches, to give special attention to the forwarding of this benevolent enterprise. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 3

The brethren in Macedonia were very poor. In receiving the gospel, they had placed themselves under persecution and oppression. With some, every advantage was denied them because of their faith. Because of their poverty and their trials, they knew how to sympathize with those who were in need. In their poverty, they gave so liberally that the brethren were surprised at the amount raised. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 4

The reason for their liberality was that they had in their hearts the love of the truth. They themselves had tasted of suffering. Trusting in the Lord, they had been comforted, and their hearts went out in sympathy to their brethren in need. They were willing to deprive themselves of goods and of money, that they might relieve the suffering saints in the church at Jerusalem. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 5

Not only was Paul actuated by a desire to relieve the sufferings of his Jewish brethren, but also by the hope that the tangible expression of the love and sympathy of the Gentile converts would soften the bitter feelings cherished toward them by many of the believers in Judea. Notwithstanding the poverty of the brethren in Macedonia, they joined readily in the apostle's plan, and urged him to accept their bounty for the needy Christians at Jerusalem. They had the utmost confidence in his integrity and judgment, and considered him the proper person to take charge of their gifts. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 6

The brethren in Macedonia experienced the truth of the words of Christ, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” They felt that the cause of Christ was one everywhere. They, therefore, in their poverty, felt called out to help other churches more needy than themselves. This spirit of unsectional liberality should characterize the churches of today. They should continually keep the burden on their souls for the advancement of the cause of God in any and every place. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 7

Titus had visited the churches in Macedonia. So successful had he been in calling forth the liberality of the brethren there, that Paul desired, as he wrote to the Corinthians, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in them the same grace also. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 8

“Therefore,” he continues, “as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.” PUR October 31, 1907, par. 9

Here benevolence is placed by the side of faith, love, and Christian diligence. Those who think that they can be good Christians, and yet close their ears and hearts to the calls of God for their liberalities, are in a fearful deception. There are those who abound in professions of great love for the truth, and, so far as words are concerned, have an interest to see the truth advance, but who do nothing for its advancement. The faith of such is dead; not being made perfect by works. The Lord never made such a mistake as to convert a soul, and leave it under the power of covetousness. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 10

In appealing to the brethren at Corinth to give liberally, Paul reminds them of the great sacrifice made in their behalf by the Lord Jesus Christ: PUR October 31, 1907, par. 11

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 12

“And herein I give my advice,” Paul continues, “for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” PUR October 31, 1907, par. 13

Paul had brought to the attention of the church in Corinth, the liberal example of the brethren in Macedonia, where, though they were exceedingly poor, they had with thankfulness and willingness contributed in response to the appeals for help. In this, however, he did not desire to lay an unduly heavy burden upon them. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 14

“For I mean not that other men be eased and ye burdened,” he declares, “but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: as it is written. He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” PUR October 31, 1907, par. 15

In his journey to Corinth, Titus was accompanied by another brother who was highly esteemed among all the churches. Still another who had labored diligently with the apostle was sent to accompany these brethren. Concerning these laborers the apostle wrote: PUR October 31, 1907, par. 16

“Thanks be to God which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; and not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: avoiding this that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us; providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. PUR October 31, 1907, par. 17

“And we have sent with them our brother whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.” PUR October 31, 1907, par. 18

In the following words Paul commends to the Corinthian church these brethren who had so willingly undertaken a difficult task: PUR October 31, 1907, par. 19

“Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow-helper concerning you; or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches and the glory of Christ. Wherefore show ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.” PUR October 31, 1907, par. 20

Mrs. E. G. White