Spirit of God, powerful and unpredictable as the wind, come upon me as I worship. Be the driving force of my life.
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 8:1-15
The Collection for the Lord’s People
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[a]—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.”[b]
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectSpend some time taking note of all the good things God has given you.
I remember being challenged by a sermon, many years ago, on the Lord’s Prayer. When she reached ‘Give us this day our daily bread’, the preacher pointed out that God could use those of us in the rich West to answer the prayers of less affluent Christians. One of the most exciting things about being a Christian is that we are part of a worldwide family; if one member is in need, the others help. Paul reminds his readers that, as he traveled, he was making a collection on behalf of the impoverished Christians in Jerusalem (see 1 Corinthians 16:1–4). The congregations in Macedonia, from where he was writing, had responded generously to the appeal. Will the Corinthians be similarly open-handed in their response?
Christian giving cannot be compelled; it must be a generous response to the grace of God shown in Christ’s self-giving love (v 9). Like the Corinthians, we need, from time to time, to review our giving. When did you last review yours? Paul reminds his readers (v 15) of God’s miraculous provision of manna for his people in the wilderness; there was enough for all, but it was not to be hoarded (see Exodus 16:18).
‘Thou who art love beyond all telling … Immanuel, within us dwelling, / Make us what thou wouldst have us be … Savior and King, we worship thee.’*
Lord Jesus, I am reminded that you were rich yet became poor for my sake. Thank you that I am saved and blessed in so many ways because of your obedience.
*Frank Houghton (1894–1972), from the hymn, ‘Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendor’
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