March 6th, 2007
What do you do if you want to live life really well? What is the absolutely wisest way to invest all of your limited supplies of time and skills and resources? According to Paul, the Christians from Macedonia knew what to do. They were pretty poor, but they begged for the opportunity to invest everything they had in the work of the Good News. They could see that everyone has limited time and limited resources and nearly all of the investment options provided nothing which would last. But the work of the Good News provided an investment opportunity which would provide lasting returns, and so no-one was going to stop them from pouring all of their resources into it.
Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians — Chapter 8
8:1 Friends, we want you to know about the grace of God which has been given to the churches of Macedonia. 8:2 In spite of their serious difficulties, their overflowing joy and their deep poverty have resulted in a rich outpouring of generosity. 8:3 They willingly gave as much as they were able, and even more than they were able, 8:4 pleading with us for the privilege of sharing in serving the believers. 8:5 They went beyond our expectations, firstly giving themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever direction God would lead. 8:6 So we asked Titus to complete this good work amongst you, as he had started it. 8:7 You flourish in every respect, in faith, eloquence, knowledge, enthusiasm, and in our love for you. Make sure that you also flourish in this good work. 8:8 This is not an order, but a test of the sincerity of your love against the enthusiasm of others. 8:9 You understand the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, he became poor for your sake, so that you could become rich through his poverty. 8:10 In my opinion it is appropriate for you, who a year ago were the first not only to give, but also to be willing to give. 8:11 So finish what you set out to do. As much as you can, convert your good intentions into completed work. 8:12 If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you do not have. 8:13 The purpose is not for others to be relieved while you suffer hardship, but to have equality. 8:14 Your plenty at the present time supplies what they need, so that their plenty can in turn provide for your needs, so that there is equality. 8:15 As it is written, “The person who gathered much had nothing left over, and the person who gathered little had enough.”
8:16 I am grateful to God, who has put the same concern that I have for you into the heart of Titus. 8:17 Not only has he accepted our request, he is very enthusiastic and is coming to visit you of his own accord. 8:18 We have sent with him the brother whose preaching of the Good News is known through all the churches. 8:19 Furthermore, he was chosen by the churches to travel with us to carry the offering, which we are organising for the glory of the Lord himself, and to show our goodwill. 8:20 We want to be above reproach in the way this generosity is handled by us, 8:21 wanting to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of people. 8:22 We have sent with them our brother — we have often found him to be enthusiastic about many things, but he is now much more enthusiastic because of the great confidence which he has in you. 8:23 Titus is my partner and fellow worker amongst you. Our brothers are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 8:24 Prove that you love them in front of the churches, and that our boasting about you is justified.
Entry Filed under: Generosity