Monday, 5 October 2015
…but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 2 Corinthians 8:11
Paul’s last verse, which continues on in this one said, “It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago.” He completes the thought beginning with “but.” There was a desire to act, but then action went no further. Now he admonishes them to act, spurring them on as the time for the collection drew near. In essence, “Now is the time that ‘you also must complete the doing of it.'”
Words of action without follow-up are simply vapor that disappears into the air. Nobody is helped through them and people will gauge another’s quality of their character, at least in a large measure, from the action or the lack of action which arises based on the words spoken. In order to ensure that the Corinthians will be viewed in a positive light in this respect, he continues with “that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion of out of what you have.”
The Corinthians, about a year earlier, eagerly spoke their intentions to help the saints in Jerusalem. However, nothing further had come about from their words and a year had slipped by. The time for finally proving their intent had come. Should they not fulfill their words, the gift taken to Jerusalem would be smaller and there would be no commendation for those in Corinth, no letter of thanks, and no gratitude for their loving assistance. The words they spoke would turn out to be that disappearing breath which merely faded away.
Concerning the words “out of what you have,” Vincent’s Word Studies notes that “Meyer justly remarks that it would be an indelicate compliment to the inclination of the readers, that it had originated from their possession. Render, according to your ability.” In other words, translating this “out of what you have” makes it sound like anything given from them excluded God’s hand of grace in it. But all things originally come from God and therefore by restating it to say “according to your ability” allows for the hand of God to be seen in what was given to them as being passed on from them. This then would be perfectly in line with Paul’s note concerning the giving of the Macedonians in verses 1-5.
Life application: If you are going to boast about doing something, it is right that you follow up by doing it. Better yet, don’t boast at all. Just do.
Lord God, grant me a heart of humility. Amen.