Sunday, 4 October 2015
And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; 2 Corinthians 8:10
Paul is very careful to make a distinction between his advice and the Lord’s commands. This follows the same line of wording then as verse 8 which said, “I speak not by commandment…” Despite being an apostle, he never wanted to overstep his bounds of authority. However, he also was one wise in the way of conducting such affairs and so he voluntarily continues with his advice.
In his counsel he says, “It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago.” Though the idea won’t be finished until the next verse, we get enough sense of what Paul means now. The Corinthians had made it known a year earlier that they desired to assist in this offering. Because they had so spoken, he desired that they now fulfill what they indicated.
However, Paul inverts what we would naturally consider the normal line of reasoning. It would be more expected for him to say, “What you desired to do, you should now do.” Instead, he puts the doing ahead of the willingness to do. He may be making an ironic statement to them that they are the ones who now have their priorities out of order. Why should they be prompted to do what they had said they would do?
Another option is that their willingness to make a collection should now be turned into an even greater collection than originally intended, adding a year of willingness to a moment of promise. Paul will tell them in the next chapter that God loves a cheerful giver. In their cheerfulness to promise, they should also be cheerful in the fulfillment of the promise.
In his advice, there is always the notion that even if the advice is personal, he is still an apostle who is speaking the words that God intends for His sheep. Paul has been given care of those sheep, and therefore his words should be trusted and acted upon.
Life application: We have Paul’s words as doctrine for the church age. Let us pay heed to them as if we believe that they are exactly what the Bible reveals they are – the very words of God which are intended to guide us in holy and right living.
Heavenly Father, help me to ensure that my actions are in line with my words. If I make a promise, help me to keep that promise. If I say I will handle a problem, then give me the ability to handle it and the desire to see it through to its completion. As I have called on Christ, what I do will reflect on Him in other’s eyes. Help me never to tarnish that view of my wonderful Lord and Savior. Amen.