Jan. 2, 2018

2 Corinthians 8

Can I be honest with you? Really honest? I am concerned about the American church’s view on poverty. I realize we all have our own value systems, but I keep reading the New Testament and Jesus’ teachings regarding poverty and charity. I must be honest with you – I’m not sure the church in America is listening.

I fear we have forgotten compassion. It appears, to me, the majority of Christian America has “righteousness” down to an art, but we stopped painting the beautiful colors of compassion. If we take the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37) as an example, I think Jesus wants us to realize we can’t pick and choose who we want to help. We cannot stand before Him someday and say, “I didn’t give because I didn’t like them.”

Paul addressed Christians in 2 Corinthians Chapter 8 who got it right. He commended this group of Christians, this church, for being more concerned with “community” and less concerned with personal wealth and comfort.

I’m not sure Christ sees that in most of us. Again, just my opinion….

We seemed so concerned with “our money.” If we are truly Christ’s followers, we should understand – everything we have is His anyway. If our blessings are blessings from Him, shouldn’t we share those blessings with others?

Do people take advantage of charity? You betcha! I suspect they did in Christ’s day, too. But, here’s the deal: Our obligation isn’t to guarantee the person does the right thing with our gifts. Our obligation is to give.

If we want to pick and choose who we support, why not start within our own church body? Meet with a pastor and/or church staff and ask, “What missions and ministries does my church support and how can I participate?” I’m not talking about just volunteering, although volunteering is important, I am talking about putting our money where our mouth is. If we claim to be a Christian, Christ-like, we must give and give with a cheerful heart; not a judging spirit.

Here is my favorite part of 2 Corinthians Chapter 8:

“At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, ‘The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.’” 2 Corinthians 8:14-15

Paul repeated a teaching from the Old Testament (Exodus 16:18). The concept supports Galatians 6 where we are taught to do good to all. We should “carry each other’s burdens” (verse 2) and we should “carry our own load” (verse 5)

In summary, let’s not just say we are good. Let’s do good things. Sharing is good. We might want to become less concerned with how the world is acting and become more concerned with how Christ’s people are behaving.

Just my opinion…