Monday after the Ninth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:1-24 (NKJV)
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.”
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.
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.
Having encouraged the Corinthians to repent and live morally according to their calling in Christ Jesus in chapter 7, Paul now speaks to them about a commitment these Corinthians had made a year earlier regarding the relief effort in helping their poor fellow believers in Jerusalem.
For motivation Paul points to the example of the churches in Macedonia who gave “beyond their ability,” but “were freely willing” to give, with an attitude which could only come by hearing and freely receiving the grace of Jesus Christ. It is the very same grace that Titus was sent to proclaim to the hearts and minds of the Corinthians, praying they too would commit themselves to the Lord.
Paul describes this attitude when a person realizes the sincerity of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that they through His poverty might become rich; rich with the gift of eternal life.
Each Sunday, we bear witness to this same truth when we recite the Nicene creed from the heart instead of just with our lips; or as Paul writes, where there is a willing mind, man’s commitment to the need of his neighbor is not based according to what he does not have, but according to what one has. Paul uses Titus as a prime example of how he accepted the exhortation to go to the Corinthians, not just because he was asked by Paul, but he went out of love for God and for the sake of the Gospel trusting that God would provide his daily bread.
May each of us be motivated by the same Holy Spirit to abound in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, but, especially, see that we abound in this grace also for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.