DEVOTION: Christian Giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-15)
The church began in Jerusalem at the Feast of Pentecost and was funded by members as they were able. When funds got low, a member would sell some property and give the proceeds to the twelve Apostles. The funds would then be distributed as the church thought fit.
Now unfortunately, bit by bit, with the sending out of missionaries, and the increasing number of widows and others to feed and to look after—and a drought—the financial strain on the church in Jerusalem came to breaking point. Indeed, it could no longer afford to continue in the same way.
As a consequence, what we have in 2 Corinthians is an appeal to help a struggling church. It is a contrast between two churches who both owed their existence to the church in Jerusalem and reflects two different attitudes to giving.
The first five verses describe the church that had been established in Macedonia (1-5). It was a church that Paul said was very generous. They’d had much trouble of their own; they’d had many problems. They weren’t particularly rich. But they were able to see that the church in Jerusalem was far worse off than they were. So they not only gave the little they could afford, but they gave much more than they could afford as well.
The next ten verses, however, describe the church in Corinth (6-15). And in contrast to the church in Macedonia, they were very rich. They had also taken on the idea of helping the church in Jerusalem. But when it came to the crunch, when it came to actually giving what they had promised, that was a different story. They wanted to keep their money for themselves. Indeed they found it very inconvenient that the church that was struggling was the one that was largely responsible for their own existence.
It’s an interesting contrast. And yet the “Corinthian” attitude towards money and possessions is still alive and well in many of our churches today. It has also got a lot of churches into trouble. But then any church who has their eyes set on preserving their own property and finances, has invariably taken their eyes off Jesus.
Now that was certainly the case in regard to the church at Corinth. But could the same be said of the churches to which we belong as well?
Posted: 26th February 2020
© 2020, Brian A Curtis