Thursday, September 25, 2008

Give According to what you have.

2 Cor. 8:8-15 (ESV)
I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. [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 by his poverty might become rich. [10] 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. [11] 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. [12] For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. [13] I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness [14] your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. [15] As it is written, "Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack."

Paul continues his discourse on giving to the church. This is an important part of the Christian life, which is often ignored. It is a touchy issue. Often when it is touched on it is touched on in away to make people give out of a sense of guilt. Often people are manipulated to give more than they can afford. Paul has a practical approach to giving. Give according to what you have. Some can’t give as much as others. Some can’t even give at the same percentage as others. Some people can afford to give ten percent, or twenty percent. Others may only be able to give 2 or 3 percent of their income. But it is acceptable to God according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. The example of the widow’s mite, is not an example that should be followed by all, though God did appreciate it. The idea is that those who have much give not so that they are burdened. (So much for this idea of sacrificial giving, that your giving should hurt before it is acceptable.) But it is a matter of fairness. God gives to all. To some he gives more, to some less. Why we do not know. But we merely give back to God what he has given us. In doing so others are eased. I thank God for all who give to the Church according to what they have. Sometimes I sense resentment though that others are not giving as much as we may think they can afford. We don’t know what that is though, we don’t pay their bills. Rather than being resentful, we should be thankful that we can give what we give. Rejoice in the work that is carried out with our gifts. Know when you see new members coming into the church, Babies being baptized, others communing with you, God has used you to make this possible. Your giving is not in vain.


Brigitte said...

Why don't you write something on Michael Spencer's podcast 112 (23 min. and on, on Evangelical perceptions of Lutheranism), as mentioned by Confessing Evangelical.

I just listened to it, but I have to go. Will think about something to write. What would you write?

Bror Erickson said...

I am think about writing something on that. I don't know yet. I do have some work to do today. But when has that stopped me.
Maybe I will throw it under theological commentary. I'll think about it a little more. If i cold tell you what I would write, I would have written it.