Warning: The following may be the ramblings of an idealist who has been researching too much for his upcoming book. (Sign up to say informed)
Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal. 15 As the Scriptures say,
“Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over,
and those who gathered only a little had enough.” (NLT)
What would our financial planning and our giving look like if the local church could and would act as our emergency fund? If we weren’t so secretive about our giving? So we knew that the church was willing and able to take care of us in an emergency of some kind.
What if the all the members of a local body knew how everyone gave and we provoked one another to good works in this area in such that we knew when we fell on hard times we would be taken care of? Because that is “What we do” Craig Blomberg in his book Neither Poverty nor Riches puts it this way “And When believers realize that others will care for them if they unexpectedly find themselves impoverished they can be freed to give more money in times of plenty.”
What would that look like? Could we live freer if we knew this? I think it would be amazing. We could give more regularly stretching ourselves to more sacrificial giving without fear because we would recognize that God is revealing his grace to care for us through the local body of believers.
This is what Paul called the Corinthian church to do, they were not lacking and could give to the churches in Judea and if a time came when Judea was not lacking and the Corinthians were in need they would return the favor so that there could be some form of equality between them. I know this idea of economic equality has some baggage today but it should not be so in the family of God. We should not allow ourselves to be so selfish with our money that we allow others to be in dire straights.
Remember Paul was calling the Corinthians to this level of generosity “not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.” v.8 How generous we are to those in need is in direct proportion to how we much we love God and his people.
What does my generosity say about my love for others? I don’t know if I want to know the answer to that.
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