Wednesday, 7 October 2015
For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; 2 Corinthians 8:13
This is in line with the previous verse which said –
“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.”
Paul’s logic is that when one gives, it should be according to what one has. However, in verse 3 he said this about those in Macedonia –
“For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability…”
He has shown that the Macedonians gave even beyond their ability, in a manner that would cause them to have to give up on their own necessities in order to assist those in Jerusalem. However, he explained that they did it freely and without being persuaded. Understanding this context, he now says, “For…” This is based on the preceding verse and his thought of giving out of what one has. He is not trying to persuade them to do what those in Macedonia had done willingly. Instead, he simply means that they should give in order to help those in need, but “not that others should be eased and you burdened.”
Would it make sense that the gift to those in Jerusalem be so large that they could then live lavishly while the givers of the gift had to sacrifice? In that case, a collection from Jerusalem would be needed for the Gentiles who gave! It would make no sense. Paul is simply asking them to give in a manner by which none would become impoverished, but that all would be comforted. His next verses will explain this.
Life application: Sometimes in our zeal to give for a worthy cause, we may promise more than we actually intended to. In such a case, it is appropriate that we give according to the promise. We are to pay our vows. Think carefully about what you intend to do before you do it so that you don’t later regret what you have done.
Glorious God Almighty, help me to be a generous but wise giver. Instill in me a heart which will gladly help others, but at the same time grant me wisdom to not be overzealous and then later regretful of the promises I make. I am sure that when I make a promise, I need to fulfill it. And so keep me restrained in the things I say until I have thought them through carefully. This I pray so that I won’t ever bring discredit upon Your name through bad choices. Amen.