Paul wanted to encourage the Corinthians to give generously to the collection he had organised for the poor believers in Judea. Some of the Corinthians boasted about superior faith, speech and knowledge. Knowing the context, Paul said to them that they should also strive to be sincere, loving and generous. They should demonstrate their faith by the way they live. He did not tell them how much to give, but the quantity of their generosity would be a reflection of their quality.
Many people today do not want to be compared to others, especially when it comes to giving a helping hand. But here Paul apparently felt that the believers in Corinth would be helped by a comparison and so he used the supreme example of the sacrifice of Jesus. “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; rich as he was, he made himself poor for your sake, in order to make you rich by means of his poverty” (8:9). Through Christ’s willingness to give we share in his riches.
Paul did not want them to impoverish themselves, but to share willingly, for God looks to the heart and not the amount. Any gift is acceptable according to one’s ability. Paul also made it clear that he is not trying to relieve others by putting a burden upon them, but that there should be equality (8:13). If the wealthy Corinthians aimed for equality and gave according to their ability, there would be equality. And when the time came for them to be in need they would be helped, and in this way equality would prevail and that would be a life-flourishing society. Paul then adds a quote, “As it is written, ‘the one who gathered much did not have too much’ ” (8:15; Exodus 16:18).
This sharing of resources increases our positive emotions and helps us develop deep and meaningful relationships. To flourish is to find fulfilment in our lives by way of connecting with others and also being connected with life’s passion at a deeper level.
-Rolianthanga Lalsim, Presbyterian Church of India
Gracious God, we thank you for giving us your only son, our Lord, who emptied his life so that we may become rich. Help us to be rejuvenated together, solidified in our conviction to uphold our faith and to bring equality wherever there is inequality. Amen.
O Lord, we thank you for the lives of all our representatives of the CWM committees in finance, investment, audit, staffing and programme reference. We pray for your guidance, wisdom and support in all decisions that they have to make in every meeting. Please help them to engage in meaningful discussions and fill them with your grace as they make decisions that will affect the organisation as a whole. Continue to remind us that all we do here to accomplish is for the truth of the greater glory of you and for service to all humankind. We pray and ask all these things in your mighty name. Amen
Fuata Varea-Singh, Council for World Mission