And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
The apostle Paul wanted to stir the Corinthians to action in providing the gift they had promised to give for the needy members in the Holy Land. As motivation, he told them about the good example of the brethren in Macedonia. Though the brethren in Macedonia were poor themselves, they insisted on contributing as well.
Paul was especially thrilled by the Macedonians’ mind-set in giving. They recognized that the most important gift was not their physical possessions, but themselves. They “first gave themselves to the Lord”! The physical gift was then an outgrowth of that mind-set of giving.
For more about the way of give, see the article on “Christian Giving.”