Give and take…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

II Corinthians 8:1-15

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia,   for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.   For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,   begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.  Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.

  I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.   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 by his poverty might become rich.  And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.   So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.  For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.   For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness  your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.   As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

Sharing what we have with those who have not is a sign of genuine love.  Those who have an abundance cannot look on those who have nothing and in love walk away.  True believers will feel a desire to share.  This covers many things as well as finances.  It covers knowledge and faith as well.  We can use wisdom in our sharing, listening to the voice of the Spirit as it guides us in our giving financially as well as sensing who would be a willing listener to the story of faith we carry with us.  As genuine believers, we treat others with respect and love regardless of how we are treated.  That speaks volumes to those around us.  Jesus went about healing and teaching those who would…  He has given us the Spirit of God to know when to speak and when to give.  But loving and caring can be done to all.  We receive in abundance when we give.  We can expect a smile in return for a smile, a hug in return for a hug, encouragement in return for encouragement.  God is our provider and being faithful in our giving is pleasing to him.  We reap benefits from His pleasure.  His principle for abundant living is in place: “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”  We all benefit, both  the giver and the receiver.  Blessed be the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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