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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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As part of the fundraising efforts Paul now warns the believers in Corinth to be ready to generously contribute to the relief fund (vs. 1-2). The implied warning is that should those appointed to collect funds arrive and find them unwilling to contribute, both they and the Apostle would be embarrassed (vs. 3-5).

From verses 6 to 10 the Apostle Paul refers to the analogy of planting crops. This was an image that would have been very familiar within the Jewish mindset. Each person sows seeds, and God makes the harvest possible. Yet “the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop” (vs. 6). The Apostle Paul challenges them to take a risk for the sake of spreading the message of the gospel.

From this perspective he says: “God loves a cheerful giver” (vs. 7).

We must search our hearts about why we give. I’ll never forget meeting a church member who told me that he wished the church would grow so that he wouldn’t have to give to his local church! While on the one hand he was the first to say that he wished that his church would double in size, at the same time he refused to support any requests for funds to do evangelism. It seemed that his giving was purely selfish.

It is God who “will increase your crop, which is righteousness” (vs. 10). In fact, this results in a new source of wealth or richness. “Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us” (vs. 11). Paul sets the example by concluding: “Thank God for his gift that words can’t describe!” (vs. 15).

Michael Campbell