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IF YOU FEEL THE WILLINGNESS TO SERVE
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS
Nice to have you back again
to share another edition of Daily Bread together. Iíd like to
start off today with a Daily Bread Crumb. Most of the time, when you hear
the word Grace, you
think of that wonderful gift from God that is mercy, forgiveness, and
pardon, but Grace has several meanings actually. In the beginning of this
chapter of Paulís second letter to the Corinthians, he begins by talking
about the Grace of God given to the churches in Macedonia. This particular
Grace is one of a different kind. This Grace is a special favor, itís not
something thatís earned or deserved because of good works, but it could be
described as help from God, given to man for spiritual betterment.
WILLINGNESS TO SERVE STUDY ON
WILLINGNESS TO SERVE MESSAGE
Thereís a great
story in these first few verses of Chapter 8, and many lessons as well. Read
through these next several verses, and then weíll study it deeper.
In addition, friends, we want to tell you
about the Grace of God given to the churches in Macedonia.
In troubled times, their joy turned their deep poverty
I can testify that they willingly gave beyond their
asking us sincerely to receive their gift and give it to
And they did more than we hoped,
but first gave their own selves to the Lord,
and to us by the will of God.
So much that we urged Titus, that as he had begun,
he would finish in you the same Grace also.
Therefore, as you abound (grow) in every thing,
in Faith, and utterance, and knowledge,
and in all diligence, and in your love to us,
see that you abound in this Grace also.
I speak not by commandment,
but by celebration of the willingness of others,
and to prove the sincerity of your love.
You may remember at the end of Paulís first
letter to the Corinthians, how Paul asked for a collection for the saints to
be taken up before his visit, probably so that the awkwardness of asking for
money would be avoided for everyone. Well, in this letter, Paul discusses
the matter with no awkwardness at all. Thereís a time and a place for
everything, they say, and Paul found it very appropriate to share the good
graces that God bestowed upon Macedonia, and their eagerness to put that
Grace into action.
WILLINGNESS TO SERVE
LESSON WITH WILLINGNESS TO SERVE EXPLANATION
Now, letís talk a little bit about the
story that Paul just told. Here we have the people of Macedonia, in great
affliction. (Remember in
Acts 16:9, Paul
had a vision of a man from Macedonia saying, Come over into Macedonia and
help us. Aha, so now itís even more clear why Paulís visit to Corinth was
delayed. You can go back to Acts and read Chapter 16 once again to refresh
your memory about the troubles that this country was enduring.) In spite of
this, these people opened their hearts to the Lord and He bestowed upon them
grace, so that they were able to give more than they could seemingly afford to the
It appears that Titus must have assisted Paul in the collection for the
saints in Macedonia, and Paul asked him to go to Corinth to continue the
job. Youíll hear more about that in a moment.
The next thing Paul does is encourage the
Corinthians to take advantage of this Grace that the Lord is giving, and
make it flourish like the other spiritual gifts theyíve received, following
the example of the people of Macedonia.
And then Paul says something very
interesting. He says, This is not a commandment, Iím not telling you this by
order of the Lord, but rather, Iím just joyful because of the willingness of
the Macedonians, and you can prove the sincerity of your love by doing the
What? Generosity shows love? Let me ask you
this, In Mark
12:42-44, Do you think that Jesus felt that the woman who cast two mites
into the treasury was acting out of love? And did her willingness have
anything to do with it? Of course. Youíve heard me say it several times in
our studies, and youíll hear it more still, your works must be effortless.
Willingness to be generous is more important than the generosity itself. In
fact, put yourself in the saintsí shoes, or for that matter, anyone who
receives donations, contributions, tithes, or gifts of charity of any kind.
If it isnít given willingly, would you want it? Therefore, if you donít give
willingly, are you glorifying God by your ďgood deed?Ē Just more points to
Now, back to what Paul was saying:
For you know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that, though He was rich, still for your sakes He became
that you through His poverty might be rich.
So, if we want to follow in the footsteps
of our Savior, this is an excellent thing to remember and a wonderful
attitude to have whenever the opportunity arises for you to be generous to
your fellow believers.
Have you ever given something to someone,
and it was totally unexpected? How did you feel at their thankfulness? Is
that not a most precious gift? And also, donít forget about giving alms in
secret. Jesus explained this in
You can read about that in Daily Breadís Gospels,
SERMON ON THE MOUNT Part
Now, back to Paul.
And in this I give my advice:
This is for the benefit of those who have started ahead of
not only to do this,
but also to be preparing for this a year ago.
Now therefore perform the doing of it;
that as there was a willingness,
there may also be a completion
out of that which you have.
For if there is first a willing mind,
it is accepted according to what a man has,
and not according to what he doesnít have.
As you know, Paul, in his first letter to
the people of Corinth, asked them to save whatever they could, on the first
day of the week for the collection of the saints. This collection was a
pledge of sorts, being that Paul wouldnít be there to collect it for some
time. Then, Paulís visit was postponed, remember. So from what we just read,
a year has passed, so Paul is saying, Okay, itís time to give what youíve
saved for the saints. Then he assures them that if they were doing this with
genuine generosity (a willing mind is what Paul called it) any amount given
was acceptable, again, just as the poor woman that Jesus pointed out.
I donít mean that other men should have it easy,
while youíre burdened:
But by an equality,
that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for
that their abundance also may be a supply for your want:
that there may be equality:
As it is written,
... he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered
little had no lack
In our modern society, weíve forgotten
about the principles of commonwealth that the children of Israel practiced
when they were freed from Egypt, and also the early Christians in
People would find it very difficult today with all of their 'rights' and
selfishness to adapt to such a thing. What about when the
Times arrive? Christians wonít be able to buy or sell anything without
the mark, because of
antichrist so commonwealth among Christians may come into practice once
WILLINGNESS TO SERVE INFORMATION WITH WILLINGNESS TO SERVE
Letís pick up our letter from Paul again.
He explains now that Titus accepted his invitation willingly to go to
Corinth and minister to the people there, as he had in Macedonia, and
assures them of the worthiness of the others that accompanied him. (Remember
that Titus was the one who went to Corinth previously and brought Paul word
that they were so sad for their doubt in him and that they loved and missed
But thanks be to God,
who put sincerity into the heart of Titus for you.
For indeed he accepted the urging;
but being more strongly inclined (by God),
he went to you voluntarily.
And we have sent with him a brother (assumed to be Luke),
whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the churches;
And not only that,
but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us
with this Grace,
which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord,
and declaration of your ready mind:
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance
which is administered by us:
Providing for honest things,
not only in the sight of the Lord,
but also in the sight of men.
And we have sent with them our brother (assumed to be Apollos),
whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things,
but now much more eager,
because of the great confidence which I have in you.
If anyone has questions about Titus,
he is my partner and fellow-helper concerning you:
or if our brethren are inquired of,
they are the messengers of the churches,
and the glory of Christ.
Therefore show to them,
before the churches,
the proof of your love,
and of our bragging on your behalf.
Be sure to hurry back because Paul continues with this topic in the next
chapter, and weíll share it together next time, right here at Daily Bread.
CONTINUE TO THE NEXT STUDY
TESTAMENT DAILY BREAD
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