Tuesday, 6 October 2015
For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. 2 Corinthians 8:12
Paul now makes a point to the Corinthians not unlike that made by the Lord in Luke 21:1-4 –
“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, ‘Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.'”
The NKJV here follows after the KJV by indicating that if there is “first” a willing mind. This is in error regarding Paul’s intent. He is not saying this as if indicating a sequence of events in time. Instead, he intends to convey the matter in a positional way. Most other translations rightly say something to the effect that, “…if the willingness is there,” or “…if the eagerness is there,” etc.
Paul is saying that the disposition of the individual is what makes an offering acceptable or not, regardless of the size of the gift. If one eagerly, and with a right heart, gives just thirty cents, they are doing well. However, if someone gives one million dollars with the wrong intent, why would they be credited with an acceptable gift? The world focuses on the size of the gift, but God focuses on the intent behind it.
Understanding this, we can see that a gift is based on the heart of the giver and it is “according to what one has.” The poor man with little can still give a grand gift out of his few possessions. It is accepted then “not according to what he does not have.” If it was, then only the gifts of the wealthy would be acceptable regardless of the amount given in comparison to the amount they possess.
Life application: If your heart is right in your giving, then you will be blessed as you give.
Heavenly Father, the account of the poor widow who gave out of her poverty tells me that You look on our hearts and not on our bank accounts. Help me to remember this and to offer my life, in its entirety, to You willingly and freely. Help me to use the time I have, the talents I possess, and the things that I have earned through a life of work, to Your glory. Let my heart be devoted to You in all ways. Amen.