v 2. 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.
Being generous is not the preserve of the rich, and folk who lead trouble-free lives. Paul is writing here about the Christian Churches in Macedonia – people who were experiencing pressure and poverty. And wasn’t it Jesus who pointed to a poor widow and said ‘ “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.” ‘ (Mark 12:43) Such generosity out of such poverty!
I’m not sure which way round the logic works – and it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we see joy arising out of generosity, and here we see generosity as the overflow of joy. The fact is that joy and generosity go hand in hand, and both are independent of the human circumstances in which the givers find themselves.