Sixth Sunday After Pentecost | July 1, 2018
7 Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.
8 I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.
9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. 15 As the Scriptures say,
“Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,
and those who gathered only a little had enough.”
2 Corinthians 8:7-15 New Living Translation (NLT)
We continue in Paul’s second letter the church in Corinth. Paul is encouraging the church in Corinth to continue what they started in the area of giving. In the previous verses he writes about the churches in Macedonia – giving even in their extreme poverty and during a severe trial. They gave generous gifts. Paul hadn’t even asked for the offering, but they begged to give.
Paul proceeds to compliment the church at Corinth for their excellence in speech and in faith and now wants the church to extend that excellence to giving.
He reminds the Corinthians that God’s grace is generous, because Jesus Christ – who was rich – became poor – he left the splendor of heaven to become like us to make us rich in Him. Paul doesn’t want the church to give out of compulsion but out of a heart of love – remembering what Christ has done. Paul challenges them to test the sincerity of their love and to finish the work.
Paul challenges them to give from their means – not from their poverty – which is interesting. They are to give according to what they have – not what they don’t have. He tells them to give out of their abundance to help those in need and when the time comes – when the other church is in abundance, they will give to those in need. What a great picture of the way the body of Christ should work.
He reminds the believers how it worked in the Old Testament with the manna. God provided the manna and everyone had as much as they needed for the day – never too much – or too little – in this way things will be equal. Something to think about as we excel in giving.