It was the international aspect of the giving that caught my attention this morning as I read this passage. Paul was advocating for the church in one area of the world to complete an offering to help the church in another part of the world. And from Paul’s perspective this was a mutual caring for one another. Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 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, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little” (13-15).
Paul is not advocating a wealth redistribution plan so that everyone has an equal amount of money, rather Paul advocates one heart breaking for another brother or sister in need. It is mutuality of love across country borders. It is caring for someone because they are in Christ. It is the body imagery of 1Corinthians 12 expanded to a global perspective. It is not law but mercy and grace…
Personal contact, integrity of love, care for God’s family… these are phrases streaming into my consciousness as it ponder this passage. The Lord is reminding me I am part of His world-wide global body and my care and love is not limited by proximity… only the size of my heart.
Ouch, this last line hurts.
Work on my heart, Lord. It can be so rigid and hard.
Forgive my selfishness and work on my heart, Lord. Through Jesus, my Lord, I pray. Amen.