Friday, September 10, 2010

The Word for Friday, Sept. 10

2 Corinthians, chapter 9:
For it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints; for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I have sent the brethren, that our boasting about you may not be made empty in this case, that, as I was saying, you may be prepared; lest if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to speak of you) should be put to shame by this confidence.So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, that the same might be ready as a bountiful gift, and not affected by covetousness.

Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written,
"He scattered abroad,
He gave to the poor,
His righteousness abides forever."
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
As with many quotations from the Old Testament in the New, this one is an approximation from Paul's memory; Psalm 112, verses 8 and 9, says:
His heart is upheld, he will not fear,
Until he looks with satisfaction on his adversaries.
He has given freely to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted in honor.
The subject of the psalm is the righteous man, the man who fears God, and how God upholds him in everything. This is worth keeping in mind as we read Paul's words here. These words have sometimes been used to suggest that giving to God's work (or, more accurately, to some person who represents his enterprise as "God's work") can be seen as a supernatural investment program, that will make the giver rich, rich, rich! But let's read carefully: " ... God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed ... " (emphasis added). Yes, abundance is promised, but abundance for a purpose: the doing of good deeds. I'd suggest that the nice vacation cottage at the lake, or the super-duper big-screen HDTV, are not what's meant here.

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1 comment:

akaGaGa said...

I'd suggest that the nice vacation cottage at the lake, or the super-duper big-screen HDTV, are not what's meant here.

Spoilsport.