Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2 Corinthians 8

In a greedy and accumulation focused culture generosity may be the ultimate counter cultural act. Chapter 8 is Paul's plea to the Corinthian church to choose to be generous. He has been taking a collection in Macedonia and other places to alleviate the suffering of the poor in and around Jerusalem. Judea and Jerusalem have been under oppressive occupation under Roman rule. This oppressive occupation has made Judea a significantly economically depressed area. The Jewish and Christian residents of Judea are suffering under this occupation driven poverty. Paul's solution is to invite the churches in Achai (Corinth) and Macedonia (Philipi) to receive an offering for the poor.

This was met with general approval but there has, apparently, been some push back from some members and leaders in the Corinthian church. There must be some in every Christian community who view money and wealth as security. This view, though pervasive throughout history, is not biblical and may be border line idolatry. Our security and our protection does not come from our gold and silver (or investments or bank accounts). Our security and protection comes from trusting in a good and faithful God.  Faithfully managing the resources God has placed in our lives is a consistent biblical theme. Here in 2 Corinthians the message is generosity. How do I live my life with open hands? How do I live my life as a channel of God's grace and not a hoarding reservoir? How do I live my life free of greed and lust and pride?

If the three primary gods of 21st century America are Money, Sex and Power, then the only way to break down the power of those idols is to not bow down and not worship them. In the case of Money the breaking of this power comes when we choose to be generous. Instead of hoarding and keeping and accumulating we put the resources God has placed in our lives to work helping others, leveraging change and building leaders for the kingdom.

The struggle we have with this is not new. It is the same struggle people in the 1st century had . . . and I suspect will be a struggle until Jesus returns.

1 comment:

CasioKid said...

13ryjoiseWith so many worthwhile projects, charities, and fund-raisers vying for our participation, we must strive to filter out the ones we will support. What angers me is we get asked two times a year from many organizations! It can only go so far. So we chose to give of our time and talents as well. Then along comes a major event such as a Hurricane, Earthquake, or family crisis. Yow!