God’s Saving Word: Spiritual Renewal
2 Corinthians 8:1-15: The apostle Paul asks the Corinthian churches to collect money offerings as part of a larger offering to be given by the churches in Macedonia to the followers in Jerusalem.
8 Our friends, we want you to know what God’s grace has accomplished in the churches in Macedonia. 2 They have been severely tested by the troubles they went through; but their joy was so great that they were extremely generous in their giving, even though they are very poor. 3 I can assure you that they gave as much as they could, and even more than they could. Of their own free will 4 they begged us and pleaded for the privilege of having a part in helping God’s people in Judea. 5 It was more than we could have hoped for! First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, by God’s will they gave themselves to us as well. 6 So we urged Titus, who began this work, to continue it and help you complete this special service of love. 7 You are so rich in all you have: in faith, speech, and knowledge, in your eagerness to help and in your love for us.[a] And so we want you to be generous also in this service of love.
8 I am not laying down any rules. But by showing how eager others are to help, I am trying to find out how real your own love is. 9 You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; rich as he was, he made himself poor for your sake, in order to make you rich by means of his poverty.
10 My opinion is that it is better for you to finish now what you began last year. You were the first, not only to act, but also to be willing to act. 11 On with it, then, and finish the job! Be as eager to finish it as you were to plan it, and do it with what you now have. 12 If you are eager to give, God will accept your gift on the basis of what you have to give, not on what you don’t have.
13-14 I am not trying to relieve others by putting a burden on you; but since you have plenty at this time, it is only fair that you should help those who are in need. Then, when you are in need and they have plenty, they will help you. In this way both are treated equally. 15 As the scripture says, “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
Today’s Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 8:12
If you are eager to give, God will accept your gift on the basis of what you have to give, not on what you don’t have.
What example was set by the churches in Macedonia? Reread verses 13-15. What can communities of faith today learn from these verses?
Holy Spirit, breathe a spirit of deep generosity into our churches, that all followers of Jesus may be inspired to share the gifts of God with those in need. Gracious God, bless all your people with the abundance of your love. Amen.
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2 Corinthians 8:16-24: The apostle Paul tells the Corinthians that his partner Titus will oversee the collection.