Willingness to Serve

Answering the Call of God

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Daily Bread Bible Study
The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
Chapter 8

A Willingness to Serve God Today

Answering the Call of God Now

Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Daily Bread study program. This is our thought provocative and pro-active ... A Willingness to serve God discussion looking at the choice to act on answering the call of God. The absolutely awesome Willingness to serve and answering the call message will truly bring a smile to the lips and heart and shine the Light of Truth upon your be-YOU-tiful Christian path.

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Answering the Call of God Quest For Facts

Let us begin, shall we? I'd 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 Paul's 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, it's not something that's earned or deserved because of good works, but it could be described as help from God, given to man for spiritual betterment.

There's a great story in these first few verses of Chapter 8, and many lessons as well. Read through these next several verses, and then we'll study it deeper.

2 Corinthians 8:1-8

1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the Grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same Grace also.
7 Therefore, as ye abound [grow] in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this Grace also.
8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.

Answering the Call of God is Essential

A Willingness To Serve God Reminder ... You may remember at the end of Paul's 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. There's 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.

Now, let's continue on our a Willingness to Serve God trek for Truth. Let's 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 it's even more clear why Paul's 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 saints.

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. You'll 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 they've received, following the example of the people of Macedonia.

And then Paul says something very interesting. He says, This is not a commandment, I'm not telling you this by order of the Lord, but rather, I'm just joyful because of the willingness of the Macedonians, and you can prove the sincerity of your love by doing the same.

Answering the Call of God Path To Peace

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. You've heard it several times in our studies, and you'll 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 saints' shoes, or for that matter, anyone who receives donations, contributions, tithes, or gifts of charity of any kind. If it isn't given willingly, would you want it? Therefore, if you don't give willingly, are you glorifying God by your "good deed?" Just more points to ponder.

Now, back to our a Willingness to Serve God journey to see what Paul was saying:

2 Corinthians 8:9

For ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye 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.

Answering the Call of God Hope

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, don't forget about giving alms in secret. Jesus explained this in Matthew 6:1-4. You can read about that in Daily Bread's Gospels, Sermon on the Mount Part 3.

Now, back to Paul.

2 Corinthians 8:10-12

10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

As you see in our a Willingness to Serve God search for understanding, 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 wouldn't be there to collect it for some time. Then, Paul's visit was postponed, remember. So from what we just read, a year has passed, so Paul is saying, Okay, it's time to give what you've 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.

Are You Answering the Call of God?

2 Corinthians 8:13-15

13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
15 As it is written [Exodus 16:18], He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

In our modern society, we have forgotten about the principles of Commonwealth that the children of Israel practiced when they were freed from Egypt, and also the early Christians in Acts 4:32. People would find it very difficult today with all of their 'rights' and selfishness to adapt to such a thing. What about when the End Times arrive? Christians will not be able to buy or sell anything without the mark of the beast, because of the evil ruler to come antichrist trying to find Christians in hiding. So, commonwealth among Christians may come into practice once again.

Answering the Call of God Adventure

Back to our a Willingness to Serve God discussion ... Let's 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 him dearly.)

2 Corinthians 8:16-24

16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward [being more strongly inclined by God], of his own accord he went unto you.
18 And we have sent with him the brother [assumed to be Luke], whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
19 And not that only, 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:
20 Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22 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 diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
23 Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.

In short ... Having a Willingness to Serve God is very important and in Truth necessary when answering the Call of God.

Be sure to hurry back because Paul continues with this topic in the next chapter, and we'll share it together next time, right here at Daily Bread.

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