Wednesday 17 February, 2021

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

8 And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. 6 So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 10 And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. 11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. 12 For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. 13 Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, 15 as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”

Paul now turns his attention to the gift that the Corinthians were to be saving towards in 1 Cor 16:1-4 – a gift for fellow believers doing it tough in Jerusalem.  He’s encouraging them to give “according to your means” (NRSV) “give on the basis of what you have” (NIRV).  This is to be a heart felt offering, something they want to do – to give from their present abundance.

This does not seem to be a “faith” offering – over and above what they have the means to give – but one where the giver can afford it.  We might call it ‘discretionary’ money today – money that’s available to us that we can use to bless other believers in times when they don’t have enough.  In Corinthians, this is a specific offering in time and place but the principle I see here is God’s economy being one of balance; there will always be people in need and people with abundance. We are to keep our hearts & eyes open, be ready to give where we see other believers having a need.  This might be believers that are far from us and unknown or someone in our church or circle of friends.  Our hearts need to ready so that our hands can give.

Holy Spirit keep us soft in regards to the money you provide for us – keep our hearts an open channel for you to use.  I love how you know that money can be a challenge for us & here you give us guidance and encouragement. Help me to always keep Your perspective on what you have provided for me.  Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    I am taken by Paul’s use of the term grace. He uses it here in the context of giving. He also uses the word excel, calling the people to excel in giving not only in faith, speech and knowledge.

    I am challenged by the thought of becoming excellent in giving, of refining my abilities under Christ that excellence would be an apt description of my giving

    Father help me to give in grace in an excellent manner and so honour You.

    Reply
  2. Matt Samperi says:

    Great reflections Suzie! We’re at Wednesday morning SOAP, so here are my reflections:

    Generosity isn’t an optional extra of my faith. I have Jesus as the ultimate example of generosity – that although He was infinitely rich, He impoverished Himself / gave it all away for my sake. And He calls me to do the same – to give up my riches for His sake and the sake of others.
    And so what is generosity? Not just being charitable, or spending lots. It is letting the grace of God overflow through me, being motivated by His great love and sacrifice, so that I am a conduit by which He can bless others. Blessed to be a blessing! Generosity is being a conduit for God.

    Father, I reflect on just how generous You’ve been to me. That you gave up INFINITE riches for my sake. I can’t comprehend this kind of generosity, but I am moved by it. You demonstrate to us that our security is not in our riches but in You. So help me to stop clinging to my riches, and be a conduit of generosity to all those around me. Amen.

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