As it turns out, Paul boasted about the Corinthians to the Macedonians, and
it motivated the Macedonians in their generosity. After further pondering
this, I see Paul’s tactics as merely using the goodness of the Macedonians
and the Corinthians to light a fire under each group. Paul also makes it clear
that it will not reflect well on the Corinthians if they do not fulfill this
commitment. This is similar to a coach or a manager using positive
examples to promote competition or accountability across the greater team.
Second, Paul does not indicate how much the Corinthians should give.
Rather, he encourages them to give according to what they have, and they
did have much more than the Macedonians. This is an important concept for
us as we consider how much to give and our heart posture towards giving.
We need to recognize how we came about our possessions. Sure, our
diligence, hard work and wisdom might play into this, but how did we
acquire those traits? These are all part of God’s provision, as are
opportunities and windfalls. Knowing this, we should be eager to reinvest
much of what God has given us back into the church, other ministries, and
those in need. You can check out the Widow’s Mite in Luke 21 and the
Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 for some bonus reading on sacrificial
giving and utilizing gifts. By the way, you might be encouraged to see in
Romans 15, that the Corinthians did in fact make good on their commitment
to give to the church in Jerusalem.
Okay, let’s continue on in verses 13 though 15 of our text:
13 For 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."
Let’s talk about the mention of fairness. Fairness is a good concept, yet, as
they say, “life isn’t always fair”. I don’t see this as equality, creation of a
commune, or at the extreme - Socialism. As I mentioned earlier, we don’t all
receive the same gifts, opportunities, or challenges in life. However, we can
use our blessings to help others in their times of need. At some point we
will also need assistance. If Paul intends that all resources be leveled out
equally amongst the people, they will miss out on the privilege of being a
blessing to and being blessed by, others. Verse 15 is a reference to the
distribution of manna in Exodus 16, so be sure to check that out as well.
Let’s Pray. Jesus, thank you for your Word, that we can read these
scriptures and apply them to our lives. You are very generous and give us
good gifts. Please help us to manage these gifts well and to follow your lead
on how much to give and where to give it. Please reveal to us our blind
spots and areas where money has a foothold in our lives, so we can have
hearts which continually seek out participation in your perfect plan. I love
you Jesus. Amen.