God’s Word Goes Forth: Abide in God’s Love
2 Corinthians 8:1-24: In today’s passage, Paul stirs the church in Corinth to make a collection for the followers in Jerusalem, by noting the generous contributions of the people of Macedonia who gave to the poor from the little that they had. Paul explains that Titus is in charge of the collection, and that he and another follower of Jesus will come to encourage them to give. He exhorts them by referring to the example of Jesus Christ, who, though rich, subjected himself to voluntary poverty, that they might be enriched.
Today's Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:9
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.
1 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. 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.” 16 How we thank God for making Titus as eager as we are to help you! 17 Not only did he welcome our request; he was so eager to help that of his own free will he decided to go to you. 18 With him we are sending the brother who is highly respected in all the churches for his work in preaching the gospel. 19 And besides that, he has been chosen and appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this service of love for the sake of the Lord's glory and in order to show that we want to help. 20 We are being careful not to stir up any complaints about the way we handle this generous gift. 21 Our purpose is to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of others. 22 So we are sending our brother with them; we have tested him many times and found him always very eager to help. And now that he has so much confidence in you, he is all the more eager to help. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and works with me to help you; as for the other brothers who are going with him, they represent the churches and bring glory to Christ. 24 Show your love to them, so that all the churches will be sure of it and know that we are right in boasting about you.
Reread verse 4. The work of collecting money for God’s people in Judea was also known as the “ministry to the saints” – Jesus’ original group of followers in Jerusalem. These “saints” had little money to continue their work in Jerusalem, so Christians in other cities were asked to support them. What modern-day “saints” do you or your church support today?
Holy Spirit, open our hearts and minds to be generous and share the gifts of God. Bless us to provide for all those who are in need. Amen.