Chapter 8: 2 Corinthians 8: 1-24, collection for the saints
Heavenly Father, we pray for daily bread, to nurture our weary souls and spirits. We pray for sanctification by Your Word of truth. We pray for growth in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
VV 1-4, 1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia: 2 that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality. 3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, 4 imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
Paul initiated a collection of offering from the churches in Asia Minor to the poverty-stricken mother church in Judea, who was facing financial hardship due to famine.
Paul commended the Macedonian churches for their joy, willingness, and enthusiasm in giving. Even during times of affliction and poverty, they freely and urgently gave beyond their ability.
VV 5-7, 5 And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. 6 So we urged Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also complete this grace in you as well. 7 But as you abound in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us, see that you abound in this grace also.
Before the Macedonian Christians gave their offerings to Paul’s initiative, they gave themselves fully to Christ in submission to God’s will. Paul entrusted Titus to be in charge of the collection. Paul did not handle the collection to prevent any conflict of interest. Paul urged his audience to give freely out of love and grace.
VV 8-9, 8 I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, became poor for our sake, to make us rich. He gave up the glory of heaven when He became a man. He humbled Himself on the cross to become the substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world, Philippians 2:5-8.
Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
VV 10-12, 10 And in this I give advice. It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago, 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
The Corinthian Corinthians started the collection 1 year ago. Paul encouraged them to continue and complete the collection.
VV 13-15, 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, 14 but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack, that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
Paul quoted Exodus 16:18. God miraculously provided manna from heaven to the Jews of the Exodus.
The Jews who were greedy collected more manna than they needed but the extra manna turned bad the next day. Those who collected less manna they needed did not experience any lack because God supplied the balance.
Exodus 16:18, “So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need.’’
VV 16-21, 16 But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted the exhortation but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. 18 And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, 19 and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, 20 avoiding this, that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us, 21 providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.
Titus willingly accepted the duty of overseeing the collection. In addition to Titus, Paul also entrusted another brother chosen by the churches to minister and oversee the collection of the offering. Paul did not want to be accused of mishandling the funds for personal gain.
VV 22-24, 22 And we have sent with them our brother whom we have often proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of the great confidence which we have in you. 23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker concerning you. Or if our brethren are inquired about, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 Therefore show to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.
In addition to Titus and the other brother, Paul entrusted one more brother to co-administer and oversee the collection of the offering. Paul confirmed the credentials of Titus and the other two brothers as his partners and fellow workers of the gospel. Paul encouraged his audience to give generously to this worthy project as proof of their love and obedience.
Before giving your offering to the Lord’s work, you should give yourself fully to the Lord first, and submit yourself to His will. You should give generously to the work of the Lord. God loves a cheerful giver. You cannot never out-give God. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that even though He was rich, yet became poor for our sakes, so that through His poverty, we might become rich. Thank You for the gift of salvation, in Jesus’ name, Amen.