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Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity. For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NLT.

If you are waiting for your “ship to come in” before you help your neighbor, don’t. If you are just six lottery numbers away from donating a zillion to cure breast cancer, try starting with a dollar. Giving isn’t triggered by having extra; it is a product of a joyful heart. When you are full of joy, even amid great afflictions, including sickness, poverty, even persecution, your life will overflow with generosity.

My mom was this way. There was a time in her life when she was living as a single mother with advanced heart disease, two young daughters at home, on a fixed income of a couple of hundred dollars a month, and the household responsibility for all the bills, including the mortgage. She took advantage of free government cheese and powdered milk, and she did most of her shopping at Goodwill. But no one walked through the front door without being invited for supper. And she took meals to a dozen relatives and older folks that considered her among their best friends. Her’s was the most attended funeral I’ve ever been to, with most of the folks being people I had never met, but she had. They were her extended family, people she had given herself to, after having given herself to the Lord. She overflowed with generosity, even in great affliction. Her joy was almost tangible, and her kindness without exception.

She discovered the key to overcoming adversity.