We end off this week with 2 Corinthians 8:8-15
v8: Not by commandment: They did not do this out of compulsion. Paul, a ruling elder/spiritual father, did not obligate, order or force them to do this. He did not shame them into being obedient.
- Testing the sincerity (authenticity) of your love: The grace of G-d produces diligence and sincerity in people. The Corinthian congregation displayed the same diligence as the diligence displayed in the Macedonian congregations. G-d’s grace produces an authentic, genuine love for others. It is that love which caused them to be generous toward others.
v9: Know: This is not only referring to cognitive knowledge (How Yeshua generously went to the cross to die so that our sins could be forgiven – Yeshua suffered tremendously in order that He could provide salvation for us) but also experiential.
- L-rd Messiah Yeshua: Our perfect example, in all things, is Messiah. What He did is being manifested in Macedonia and in Corinth – not as out of compulsion, but because grace is ruling in the lives of these people. We will never produce the righteousness of G-d unless we have that same mindset as Messiah, unless we submit to the leadership of G-d’s grace that teaches us to deny those things that are against the character of G-d.
- Though He was rich: He had everything.
- For your sakes: Yeshua did not do what He did because of what He could get out of it, or to make people think more highly of Him etc. It was His love for us that compelled Him to go to the cross.
- Become rich: Rich in Kingdom possessions – rich in the things of G-d. As we give, in His name, based upon His love, we receive (Luke 6:38). G-d is so pleased to bestow upon us these Kingdom promises because they represent not only His love for us, but they are also tokens or evidence that prove our love for Him.
Note: For G-d’s work and purposes to be done it takes resources. This next bit of Scripture speaks about the provision (specifically financial) that G-d gives in order that His work can be done. G-d commands us to be a giving people – giving to help, assist, bless and influence others for the things of G-d.
v10: This: Referring to the matter that Paul has been talking about – the need for financial resources so that ministry could be done.
- I (Paul) give my advice (counsel): This is Paul’s opinion, but it is based in knowledge – a knowledgeable opinion. Paul is giving advice/counsel and he’s doing so from the position of knowledge.
- To your advantage: For your benefit (profit). Paul’s actions and words for others had a positive, G-dly, righteous and edifying effect on them.
- Do what you began and were desiring to do a year ago: The Corinthians church had, for a long time (at least a year), been wanting, desiring, to send a gift or love offering to the church in Israel. They had begun taking up a collection for this gift, but they had never quite ‘wrapped it up’ in order to actually send it.
v11: Complete the doing of it: They had made a plan, a year earlier, to send this gift. The desire was in their hearts. But they had not yet actually carried it out. Paul is encouraging them that now is the time to respond. It is not enough to have the right intent; we need to follow through with and complete the good desires that we have.
- There was a readiness to desire it: They willed/wanted/desired to send this gift. Some Bibles (like the NKJV) translate this as ‘readiness’ or ‘preparation’. More than a year earlier they had begun to set aside resources, make collections and save up money for the purpose of sending it.
- What you have: The money they had already collected to go toward this gift.
v12: It is accepted: It’s well pleasing. What they had managed to collect was acceptable or pleasing. They weren’t to stop and not act on their desire because they had not reached their target amount. G-d was pleased with what they had managed to save up. He wasn’t displeased by what they still lacked (what they did not have) in order to fulfil their goal. What we don’t have should never be the deciding factor of our generosity.
- According to what one has … not according to what he does not have: This Corinthian congregation had not met their goal. They wanted to be excessively generous by giving a lot, but the amount that they had desired to give had not been met. This congregation in Corinth, although not wealthy, were faithful. For a year or so they had been setting aside and working on trying to make it a generous gift. Paul is telling them that even though they have not reached their goal it is time to complete and send the offering. It was time to act.
v13: Note: G-d does not work in a way that some are always at ease while others are always afflicted. Circumstances change. Sometimes we experience an easing, but at other times we feel the affliction.
v14: Equality: G-d is the great equalizer – He is just, and everything eventually equals out.
- At this time: In this present season that they found themselves in. There are different seasons in life. There are seasons of abundance but also seasons of lacking. Through the administration of the grace of G-d in our lives He brings about equality. G-d has arranged things so that at this time this congregation had abundance. When we have, we need to give. When we do not have G-d is faithful to bring others to supply our needs. If we are not faithful when we have an abundance, we must not expect G-d to bless our disobedience. G-d would not be faithful if He blessed disobedience. When we are disobedient, He disciplines us to bring us to His perspective. His justice brings about change.
v15: It is written: Quoted from Ex 16:18. Those who gathered manna (heavenly bread that
fell from the sky) in excess of their needs saw their supplies perish and spoil with maggots. Those who gathered in order to meet their need found that they had enough to satisfy them. Those who took an excessive amount of manna did not benefit from it. Those who took just what was needed were satisfied. This example that Paul gives us about manna teaches us an important principle on how to administer G-d’s provision in our lives.