Archive for May 5th, 2020

2 Corinthians 8:10-14

In 2 Corinthians 8:10-14 Paul gives the church some advice. The Corinthian Christians previously expressed a desiring and a readiness to give. Now, they actually had to do it! It was time to quit talking and start giving. “And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.” The thing that Paul makes clear is that giving has positive impact on the giver too. We can’t give what we don’t have. God judges our giving against what resources we have. However, the issue of what and how we spend is relevant to what you have. If you overspend and therefore never have any to give, you can’t excuse it.

So Paul exhorts the church to finish well when it comes to giving. Lip service doesn’t cut it. Wishing you had given isn’t going to count. Our walk has to match our talk. “So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.” God does not expect us to give what we do not have. True Christian giving cannot be measured by the amount. One might give a million dollars and yet not give enough; another may give one dollar and give with tremendous sacrifice and generosity. True giving is measured by obedience, proportion, and need, not by amount.

Paul makes it clear that the amount is not the issue when it comes to giving. There is no stock answer to the question of ‘how much’ we should give. We can’t give what we don’t have – that is certainly one principle we should keep in mind. But we also need to understand that giving isn’t necessarily easy or without some pain. “For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” The New Testament teaches us that giving should be regular, planned, proportional, and private and that it must be generous, freely given, and cheerful.

Paul isn’t about keeping score on who gives what and how much. It isn’t about being fair, but rather obedient. “I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” The Corinthian Christians were not giving so that the Jerusalem Christians would get rich and lazy at their expense. Paul was taking the collection so the Jerusalem Christians could merely survive. The goal was not to burden the Corinthian Christians, nor was it to make it easy for the Jerusalem Christians. God’s economy has not shortages if everyone is listening and obeying His direction. That was Paul’s desire – to get all members of the body giving and receiving God’s way.

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