Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Now as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us-excel also in this grace.
2 Corinthians 8:7
It is a privilege to give. Paul sends his colleague Titus to the Church in Corinth to encourage them to give resources to the Church in Jerusalem, which at this time is living in extreme poverty. Paul reports that the Churches in Macedonia, who are also experiencing affliction and poverty, have already committed with joy to this fundraising effort that Paul is organizing. The Church in Corinth has on a previous occasion communicated its intent to help the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. And so, Paul reminds the Corinthians of their previous commitment and urges them to follow through in generosity.
In his words to the Corinthians, Paul teaches about giving. He says it is a privilege to give. They should never be forced to give. The Corinthians must decide freely whether or not to contribute to the needs of others. They are not being commanded by Paul to give to those in need. Instead, the finances that the Corinthians have are theirs to give. Another point Paul discusses is how to give. Even the Macedonians, in their extreme poverty, beg Paul for the privilege to give from what they do have. Even they have been blessed enough to give. With this in mind, Paul advises, “if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” The Corinthians should not give out of what they do not have. They should give from what they do have. The most important point about giving is why we give. Paul encourages the Church in Corinth to give themselves first to the Lord, and then to allow the Lord to guide the giving. In other words, giving should not be as focused on to whom we are giving, but rather, on for Whom we are giving. In all situations where we express generosity of time, talent, or treasure, we are urged to give first and foremost for God.
What blessings from God do you already use or give for His Purpose of spreading the Gospel? How might you use what you have for God?
Generous God, all the blessings I have are because You have given them so freely to me. Thank You for the privilege of seeing Your Hand in my life. Thank You for the opportunity to give what I have back to You for Your Purpose. I pray that You guide me in the ways that I can use my life to give You Glory. I pray these things in Jesus’ Precious Name, AMEN.
Thru the Bible in a year (credit: Biblestudytools.com): 2 Corinthians 8; 2 Kings 20-21; Nahum 2