In second Corinthians 8:1-5 (NIV), Paul tells us of the extreme generosity of the Macedonian church. It wasn’t out of abundance and peace that they gave but during strife and poverty they found ways to give financially to the church.
In verses 13-15, we have an understanding of the connection that was built between the Macedonian, Corinthian and Jerusalem churches.
“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” (NIV)
When one had plenty they were asked to give to those who needed. Just as it would be returned to them when the other had plenty.
Now Paul set up some parameters to this giving.
- There is a genuine holy need. The Jerusalem church shouldn’t be hoarding the money either but using it toward ministry. The Jerusalem church, being in a city, had many widows, the elderly, visitors and orphans in need of assistance and who needed care.
- Giving is interdependent. The financial support is given by everyone no matter how small a donation it may be. The Macedonian and Corinthian churches shared in the support of the Jerusalem church.
- Giving is reciprocal. Even if the Corinth church was never without funds, the Jerusalem church could give to it once it was able to, in support of the Corinthian ministries.
- The gift is given for the furthering of the Kingdom of God.
“We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” (verses 20-21)
Being in connection is relevant to us now as well.
Methodists have a connection. Each church is connected to another so that when a need arises, all can help lift those who are struggling with the challenges life brings.
We give so that others might be able to share the Kingdom of God with this world. We give so that those sharing the Kingdom of God have the tools and skills necessary to make disciples of all nations. We give to improve the lives of our fellow human beings because we have been called by our God to do so.
Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it. (verse 24)
Almighty God, show us your love for each of us so that we might see everyone as our brothers and sisters in Christ, your beloved. Amen.