During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. – 2 Corinthians 8:2 CSB
In this passage, Paul is referring to a financial gift for the suffering church in Jerusalem that he has been preparing. Apparently the church at Corinth had committed to being a part of it, but Paul seems to have his doubts about their commitment to it. And so he starts off by commending their neighbors to the north, the poor country bumpkins,
And what an example these folks were. It seems like they were going through some very difficult times, and had little in the way of material goods. And yet they were extremely generous. Paul goes on to say about them, that they begged to be a part of this ministry to the Jerusalem church. And somehow they gave beyond their ability to give. Their giving was not done grudgingly, but joyfully and in a wealth of generosity.
Paul seems not to be calling on the Corinthian church to give to the same extent. Instead he is using the Macedonians as an example to encourage them to be generous in their own giving. And I believe that holds for believers today as well. You may be led to copy the Macedonian example. But even if not, we should learn to be generous in providing for the needs of others. Not just out of our surplus, but learning to give sacrificially. And not just giving to the operating expenses of our church, which is important; but also to the real physical needs of people in our church, our community, and throughout the world.