Most of us are familiar with what the Bible says in Hebrews 2:3 which says; What makes us think that we can escape if we are indifferent to this great salvation that was announced by the Lord Jesus himself? It was passed on to us by those who heard him speak, and God verified the message by signs and wonders and various miracles and by giving gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose to do so. This is the first of many “warning” passages in Hebrews. The purpose is to alert the readers of the dangers of drifting back into former lifestyles. With every decision comes a consequence. Which do we choose? The punishment for ignoring the opportunity or wonderful salvation by trusting in God and relying on His special favor and transforming power.
Paul was speaking to the Corinthian people about generous giving and the fact that we must follow through on everything that we start. 2 Corinthians 8: 1-5 says; Now I want to tell you, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done for the churches in Macedonia. Though they have been gong through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity. God I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem. Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us whatever directions God might give them.
2 Corinthians 8: 6-8 says; So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to complete your share in this ministry of giving. Since you excel in so many ways-you have so much faith, such gifted speakers, such knowledge, such enthusiasm, and such love for us-now I want you to excel also in this gracious ministry of giving. I am not saying you must do it, even though the other churches are eager to do it. This is one way to prove your love is real.
2 Corinthians 8: 9 says; You know how full of love and kindness our Lord Jesus Christ was. Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
2 Corinthians 8: 10-15 says; I suggest that you finish what you started a year ago, for you were the first to propose this idea, and you were the first to begin doing something about it. Now you should carry this project through to completion just as enthusiastically as you began it. Give whatever you can according to what you have. If you are really eager to give, it isn’t important how much you are able to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you don’t have. Of course, I don’t mean you should give so much that you suffer from having too little. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help them. Then at some other time they can share with you when you need it. In this way, everyone’s needs will be met. Do you remember what the Scriptures say about this? Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough.
Jesus Christ is the perfect model for graciously helping others. He became a lowly human being and died like a criminal on the cross to conquer our enemies which are sin and death. He gave up his heavenly glory and willingly suffered on our behalf. He is able to enrich our lives exceedingly abundantly, and can strongly identify with our pain and temptation. Therefore, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to reach out helping hands to others in need.
We all know it is much easier to start something than to finish it. A good example is recovery from an addiction whatever it may be. Perseverance is critical to those who are prone to running out of gas during these times. Like the Corinthians who enthusiastically started a relief fund for the Jerusalem church but failed to follow through on their commitment. Paul confronted them and encouraged them to persevere in this worthy task. Recovery is no less worthy of perseverance, we need to do more than make promises and verbal commitments to whatever it is we start, we need to follow through for the glory of God.
God gave this word to me to share with others, and as I was reading I was given a much greater understanding on how important giving truly is in the eyes of the Lord. I mean think about it, look what he gave to us and we tend to struggle with the smallest things. Now my friends all I can say about this is be encouraged, let’s rise up and shine and show the world something truly wonderful for our Father in heaven. Have a great Sunday.