April 12, 2022 Southshore Bible Church

2 Corinthians 8

2 Corinthians 8

At the present time your surplus is available for their need, so that their abundance may in turn meet your need, in order that there may be equality. (2 Cor. 8:14, CSB)

 

At once, the instruction in this chapter is both uncomplicated and difficult. It prompts generosity. It raises questions about the way we think about our finances. It examines the relative economic status of our brothers and sisters and opens our wallets according to our ability.

 

Here’s a summary: Paul is calling on the Corinthian Church to fulfill their commitment to send a monetary gift to a church in need (see the original instruction in 1 Cor. 16:1–4). The Church in Corinth, while certainly not wealthy, had more to share than did the poorer Jerusalem church.

 

To make his plea for generosity, and rather than exact the gift, Paul points to the example of another generous church—one in Macedonia. Here were brothers and sisters who lived in desperate financial straits. In Paul’s view, this would have excused them from sending a gift the size they did. But even their “extreme poverty”, when joined with their personal experience of God’s grace, “overflowed in a wealth of generosity” to the Jerusalem saints.

 

Having already heard some radical things from Paul, you might expect him to require the same sacrificial gift from every believer (give more than you can!). But instead of giving beyond your ability, he asks, simply give according to what you have. This, when accompanied by eagerness, is a good gift.

 

It’s as simple as that. Find out what your brother or sister needs, and if you’re able, meet the need.

 

The act of giving is an act of grace (vv. 6–7). It gives you the privilege of sharing (fellowship, koinonia) in the ministry to your fellow believers (4). It is an expression of genuine love (8). Perhaps best yet, it paints a picture of Jesus, who gave up his riches for our prosperity (9).

 

You also don’t know when you’ll be in need. While you might be able to open your home today, you might need your sister to do the same for you tomorrow. As you give to others and they give to you, you share, or experience fellowship, with one another. And you re-experience the grace of Jesus who gave himself for you.

 

Today, consider what your brother or sister’s need is. See how you could meet that need. And experience the joy of Jesus through giving according to what you have been given.

 

Prayer

 

Father, you have given me beyond what I deserve. I know you have shared everything with your Son so that as I’ve been united with him, all that you have given to him, you generously give to me. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your kindness in doing this by placing me in Christ.

 

Now I’m asking that you’ll give me the same spirit of generosity. Would you give me a mind for the needs of my brothers and sisters, and to meet their needs according to what you have given to me. Glorify yourself in our fellowship, and through us beyond us to the Church and world in need. Amen.

  

Blair Hanson