THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2020
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints— and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 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.
I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 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. 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— now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. 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 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 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.’
by R. Fergus Moir, Clergy Stuff
“Do what you can when you can.” This is a common saying in 12-Step recovery programs in regards to giving service to one another and the fellowship as a whole. It’s about being both ambitious and realistic in what you give, just as in this passage from 2 Corinthians. Some of us simply have more resources—time, energy, money, health, etc.—than others, and God calls us to give according to what we have. Which means that those who have more available ought to give it willingly in support of those who have less. It’s such an simple, obvious concept, yet so many of us find it counterintuitive in a culture of endless accumulation. We never see ourselves as having enough, much less more than enough, so that we can give some away. Paul encourages us to be generous, therefore challenging us to look honestly at ways in which we can support the whole of our interconnected community.