2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Everyone loves a stewardship text, right? Perhaps not. It is hard to be asked, or to ask others, to give of their worldly possessions. We especially have strong emotional ties to our money because, like it or not, it represents security and control. Often we don't mind giving of our excess (if we ever have any!), but to give beyond that means to risk not having enough for ourselves and our families. In an uncertain world, we don't know what tomorrow may bring.
Paul is not ordering the Corinthians to give; he is encouraging them to prove that their love is sincere. Giving to others as a way to feel better about yourself is not helpful. Instead we are to give cheerfully, knowing that if we are in need, God will take care of us through the generosity of others. Stewardship should not be viewed as something we are obligated to do, but as something we are motivated to do out of love for Christ and our fellow human.
Dear Lord, you are the sustainer and provider of life. Help us to trust in your provision as we look to the needs of your children. Amen.
2 Corinthians 8:7-15 (NRSV)
7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.
8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others.
9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
10 And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something—
11 now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means.
12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have.
13 I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between
14 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.
15 As it is written, "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little."