A couple of summers ago, I played in a three on three ultimate Frisbee match. I had very little to offer. After a quick burst of speed and one catch I was about done. These old legs and lungs were not able to keep up with those young ones. I did not mind sitting back down on the bench and let my other team members continue to play while I was sucking up some air.
Have you ever been anywhere and you just felt like you didn’t have anything to contribute? I have felt that way so many times in my life. When trying to figure out a way to build something, I am pretty useless. Fortunately when I have gone on mission trips where ingenuity with building was needed, we always had someone that had a great head for that. I would marvel at how a project would come together in difficult circumstances. When I was in Romania, we needed a certain part to fix a machine. A man came, looked at what was needed and the next day came with a package that looked like would have some meat in it, and in it was the part perfectly made by this skilled machinist. I never would have been able to do that.
There have been so many conversations that I have been involved in that I was not really involved in. (I was there.) Whether in discussions on certain sports, hunting, fishing, politics, finances, …. I have had to remain silent, and just listen.
Other times, when someone was in need, I would want to help out, but my resources were low, or tied up, and I felt like I couldn’t give. When I look back in my life, I can come up with numerous times that I was inadequate with what was needed. That was great for someone who already was really insecure:).
In our passage we read how Paul is encouraging the Church at Corinth to follow through on their initial plans to give. Without going into the full nature of the problem, there were some points that are helpful for us to consider. Look at some of the following excerpts:
2 Corinthians 8:1-5 (NASB95)
1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia,
2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality.
3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord,
4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints,
5 and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.2 Corinthians 8:8-9 (NASB95)
8 I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.2 Corinthians 9:12-15 (NASB95)
12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.
13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,
14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Have we learned how to give like the Macedonian Church did, out of their poverty? Have we learned that Christ has given us everything we need?
It also appears elsewhere in Scripture that it doesn’t matter so much how much we have in this world, but rather what we do with what we have been given. Think of the old widow that gave her small offering(Mark 12:41). How about the woman that washed Jesus’ feet with her tears(Luke 7:38), or Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus(Luke 10:39), or the Apostle stating to the handicapped man, “silver and gold I do not have” but this I give…… (Acts 3:6).
Listen to Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:10 (NASB77)
10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.
God gave His indescribable gift, Jesus. Those of us in Christ who were poor would become rich. What are you and I going to do with our “riches” in Christ? The fullness of God within us, the Spirit, the well of water springing up as described by Jesus to the Samaritan woman(John 4) is not meant to remain in us alone, but to overflow into the life of others.
Do you feel inadequate? If you do, that is the best place to be. Now instead of offering something you can do, you can give Christ!
Flow river, flow!
Learning how to give,