Episode #157. Today we’ll read 2 Corinthians chapter 8 together. Paul returns to his appeal for the Corinthian Christians to complete the collection for the needy in Jerusalem and for its proper administration.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #157. Today we’ll read 2 Corinthians chapter 8 together: Paul returns to his appeal for the Corinthian Christians to complete the collection for the needy in Jerusalem and for its proper administration.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So, refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
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I just talked with you about how Covid, the elections, violence in this country and the smoke hanging over California is just getting to be a bit too much. I feel myself wanting to curl up into the fetal position. I really do feel like I need to get outside of my own head. Episode #144 of The Next Right Thing was just the ticket for me. I bet it will make you feel a little better too. I don’t want to spoil the Aha! moments for you, but I will tell you that she will challenge you to take a walk, take a shower, and have a good meal. That’s all I’m gonna say. I’d love to know your thoughts at Lifting Her Voice.com.
2 Corinthians Chapter 8
Appeal to Complete the Collection
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia: During a severe trial brought about by affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. I can testify that, according to their ability and even beyond their ability, of their own accord, they begged us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints, and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us by God’s will. So we urged Titus that just as he had begun, so he should also complete among you this act of grace.
Finish the Task
Now as you excel in everything — in faith, speech, knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love for us — excel also in this act of grace. I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter, I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it. Now also finish the task, so that just as there was an eager desire, there may also be a completion, according to what you have.
For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. It is not that there should be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality. At the present time your surplus is available for their need, so that their abundance may in turn meet your need, in order that there may be equality. As it is written: The person who had much did not have too much, and the person who had little did not have too little.
Administration of the Collection
Thanks be to God, who put the same concern for you into the heart of Titus. For he welcomed our appeal and, being very diligent, went out to you by his own choice. We have sent with him the brother who is praised among all the churches for his gospel ministry. And not only that, but he was also appointed by the churches to accompany us with this gracious gift that we are administering for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. We are taking this precaution so that no one will criticize us about this large sum that we are administering.
Indeed, we are giving careful thought to do what is right, not only before the Lord but also before people. We have also sent with them our brother. We have often tested him in many circumstances and found him to be diligent — and now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you. As for Titus, he is my partner and coworker for you; as for our brothers, they are the messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. Therefore, show them proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you.
Do you know who I thought of as soon as Paul started talking about the generosity of the incredibly poor Macedonians? Dave Ramsey. One of his one-liners is something like, “take control of your money instead of letting your money control you.” Mitch and I have graduated from two Christian money management classes. Yes…it takes some of us twice. In the 90s, we took the Crown Ministries Course. Something that always stuck with me from that class is that the Bible has 2350 verses having to do with money. In other words, God knew it would give us trouble. What is it about money? Is it the money itself? Is it our own greed? Do we fear not having enough? Or is it a combination of all of them? Probably.
But the Macedonians are a great example for the church at Corinth and us. They considered it pure joy to give generously to those in need, because they had been given so much in Christ already. It was as if material wealth didn’t even enter the picture.
And who do you think that unnamed brother is? I took a pretty good look at all the commentary sources on biblehub.com. There were a lot of guesses but by their own admission they don’t know. What they all mentioned though was that this person was so renowned for his faithfulness and service, that it wasn’t necessary to even mention his name. Remember, also, this is a letter. When I read this, I hear Paul being very encouraging to the Corinthian Christians and using this as a carrot or some kind of a surprise. He was actually building anticipation; it was a tease to build excitement for the collection. Let’s pray.
Oh, Lord, we do struggle with the whole subject of good stewardship, don’t we? You know we do. Would You help us wrap our heads around the fact that it is Your money and we are called to be good managers of it? Help us to pray over our use of it. Help us to hear You, Holy Spirit, when You prompt us to use it for Your purpose. Help us to find joy in giving simply as a reflection of the magnificence of what You’ve already given to us. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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