Last night at Bible Class we were looking at 2 Corinthians 8 & 9. There are a couple of times in Paul’s writings where it’s fairly obvious that he is being a little cheeky to get people to do the right thing. Paul uses guilt very well in order to make sure people fulfil their responsibilities. In the UK, there comes a moment in most boys young lives where they have to make a decision between going to Sunday school or joining the local soccer team who happen to have their matches on a Sunday morning. Like most Christadelphian British men, who made the right decision and chose Sunday school in their youth, their is a niggling feeling deep down that we could have made it had we chosen the other option! The way my parents made sure I made the right decision was to use Paul’s tactic in this chapter by basically saying “it’s up to you which choice you make but we know that you’ll make the right decision”.
In these chapters Paul is saying to the Corinthians, “it’s up to you which choice you make but I know that you’ll make the right decision”. The last verse of the previous chapter says “I am glad I can have complete confidence in you”. Then Paul really notches up the guilts and leaves the ecclesia little choice but to do as he suggests. Throughout these two chapters I hear massive echoes of my own parents. My impression is that Paul knows he has to guilt trip the Corinthians into being generous.
He does this quite brilliantly. He answers the first objection before it arises. Which is, that the ecclesia is too poor and couldn’t possibly afford to send money. So Paul starts off by giving a glowing account of the churches in Macedonia who, even though they were in extreme poverty, still “urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service”.
Those are vary carefully chosen words. If I was a brother or sister reading this letter and I had complaints about having to send money then hearing about these poverty stricken believers in Macedonia who desperately wanted to help would stop me in my tracks. On top of that Paul is calling it a ‘privilege’ and here am I grumbling.
Lately, we have begun to look at how we (as a church/ecclesia) can get more involved in more giving and more outreach. Sure, we have a sponsor child but it really doesn’t feel enough. Perhaps God wants us to give until it actually hurts like the widow’s mite or to give actively with our hands. Some verses that have inspired this thinking:
Luke 3:10-11 Jesus answered, He that has two coats, let him give to him that has none
Ephesians 4:28 use your hands for good work and then give generously to others in need.
Matthew 5:42 Give to everyone who asks you for something. Don’t turn anyone away who wants to borrow something from you.
1 Tim 6:18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share
Heb 13:16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Gal 6:10 As we have opportunity, let us do good to ALL people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers
James 1:27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows
2 Cor 9:7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
We have a few ideas for things we would love to get involved in, but we are starting small with a food collection bank. Anyone who is able to donate some canned or non-perishable goods for Coast Shelter, please let us know or bring to Eden Bible Education Centre.