Stewardship of the Resource
Chicago MTC, Illinois
“The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.” (vs. 15a)
In today’s passage, we see an interesting background. The Church at Corinth made a promise to provide money for the distressed believers in Jerusalem. Although the Church started it, they did not follow through with their promise. This is common even among our Christian community today. It is a lot easier to make big promises than to fulfill it on time. Hence, Paul, as an apostle and leader, instead of beating the Corinthian church up, he inspired them. So how did Paul inspire the church? Paul inspired the church by addressing two important questions.
1. Paul tells them WHY they should do it?
Paul begins chapter 8, by sharing details about how the Macedonian Churches generously gave despite their circumstances and according to their ability (vs.1-4). He tells them that their motivation for giving was love. Having detailed this, Paul encourages the Corinthians to act in like manner and hence reinforces them to excel in the grace of giving (vs.5-7). However, Paul goes on to remind them that he is not commanding them to be generous (vs.8). He is encouraging them toward "this grace" by comparing their self-giving with the self-giving of the Macedonian Christians.
Furthermore, Paul provides them with the supreme example of Christian self-giving who is none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (vs.9). Christ willingly became poor that we might become rich. He set aside His divine privilege to join the broken humanity. Hence, for us to follow Christ's self-giving we need to rest on the grace of God. Such kind of generosity is something given as a gracious gift from God.
2. Paul tells them HOW they should do it?
Paul acknowledged the Corinthians for their eager willingness and generosity in the past. He recognized that they were not only the first to give but also the first to have the desire to do so (vs.10). Hence, Paul advices them to take up what they adopted in the previous year, and to finish the work that they had so well begun (vs. 11). He reminds them that giving must always come from a willing heart, it cannot be forced. So, Paul doesn’t simply want them to give, but “to desire to” give (vs.12).Paul’s letter is not only to the Corinthians, but it is also for us. We are also reminded to give generously from what we have. Christian self-giving is to help us up build our fellowship to perfect the kingdom of God and to reach out to the lost, thereby extending the kingdom of God. Like, how Paul reminds us, this way there will be equality (vs.14). “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little” (vs. 15a).
Dear Lord, we thank You for all the blessing You have bestowed upon us. Help us to follow Your example and remember those in need. We thank You for the Grace that You have given us that we may all give with gladness and sincerity. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” - Mother Teresa