2 Corinthians 8
Paul begins this chapter encouraging the Corinthian christians in their giving. Paul had been collecting money to give to the christians in Jerusalem because they were very poor. Paul uses the example of the Macedonian christians, who were not only giving, but they gave willingly and with joy out of their own poverty.
“We want you to know brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints. (2 Corinthians 8:1-4)
Paul calls the giving that the Macedonian christians the “grace of God”. He points out that they gave out of the abundance of their joy, that even though they were poor they gave above and beyond their means, actually begging Paul to take what they had to give rather than the other way around. Paul had mentioned giving to the Corinthians back in 1 Corinthians 16 but possibly because of the falling out that they had had with him, they had become lax in their giving.
Paul also does not want it to seem like a command to give, but that he wants them to do it out of the grace that they know from Jesus. It appears in verse 10 that the Corinthians had at one time had the desire to give and he wants them to finish well what they have started. He is not asking them to give to the point of burdening themselves but it has been very clear that the Corinthians had abundance and he is asking them to give out of their abundance.
The second part of this chapter seems to be simply Paul’s commissioning of Titus and someone else who remains unnamed to return to the Corinthians. There are plenty of speculations as to who it could have been but scripture never states his name. Titus apparently had a heart for the Corinthians as it states in verse 16.
“But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. (2 Corinthians 8:16)
Titus was excited about going back to the Corinthians and Paul is glad that Titus cares as much for them as he does. Titus had obviously made a connection with the Corinthians and he desired to go back. I love how Paul seems excited that Titus is for the Corinthians. To me studying parts of Corinthians has been a little frustrating because you don’t really see Paul make a connection with them. He has a heart for them and he loves them but they seem to frustrate him. I love how Paul passes the baton so to speak to Titus when he sees their connection. He doesn’t point out the negativities that he has felt with them. Quite the contrary, he points out the things he does love about them and desires to build them up to Titus. I wonder how many times I have run across someone who felt a connection with a person that knew and maybe I didn’t see eye to eye with and instead of building that relationship up, I pointed out some negative that maybe did nothing but tear down. I want to be better about that. You know the bottom line is we aren’t going to always connect with everyone. Personalities are all different, but you may connect and it be a beautiful relationship. But I know I have been guilty of letting the big old green eyed monster in. I love how Paul was so good about being all in for the common goal.
Lord, I pray help me to be about the common goal and not tear others down. Lord, even if I have people I don’t see eye to eye with I pray help me to see the best in them. Help me to see them through your eyes.
Please pray for medical professionals today.