Show us your love

2 Corinthians 8

In this chapter, Paul returns to one of the main issues that caused the recent controversies in Corinth; the gift of financial aid to the church in Jerusalem. As we have already seen, his accusers in Corinth made a lot of this action, apparently claiming that Paul was involved in something less than honest, yet Paul and the Corinthians had now moved beyond these attacks, had dealt with the accusers, and reconciled.

Haven’t they?

What is really interesting here, is that Paul, full of optimism and joy, is giving the Corinthians an opportunity to demonstrate their rejection of those accusers, and their commitment to Christ and His people by giving their money for the relief of the Jerusalem church.

Was Paul pushing his luck when he wrote this? Remember, he didn’t know what the response would be…

Over the years, I’ve listened to many an annual sermon about tithing come from these verses, and I’ve often wondered if that was the best application of the text.  If I’m honest, I have to say that I still wonder about that.

Yet putting our love into action might well mean that from time-to-time we must part with our cash. No, I don’t mean “tithing”. After all, tithing is part of the Old Testament Law that is “obsolete and useless” according to the author of Hebrews. What I mean is that so many of us say that Christ is first in our lives, that He is our center and our rock, and then refuse to give our earthly treasure to His cause. Is it just me, or is there perhaps the slightest bit of hypocrisy at work there…?

I’ll let you be the judge of that, and I’ll just say that Paul is clearly challenging the Corinthians to put their money where their mouths are.

As for us, I think it is safe to say that we should be good stewards of or material resources, wasting not. I think it is important for us to avoid being a burden upon others if it is at all possible. At the same time, it is also important that we be quick to give to those who have a real need, for how can we say that we love our brother and sister, all the while refusing a legitimate need? No, we shouldn’t become enablers to enable people to waste their resources and very often it is hard to be sure where the need actually comes from.

Yet as the rich man said, “I may have lost millions in business, but I never lost a cent that I gave away.”

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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14 Responses to Show us your love

  1. Sadah says:

    This is lovely.

  2. Pete says:

    Money is always a touchy subject. Of course, Jesus said we should honor the tithe. If we do not give within our church, how will the church operate? We must always put our money where our mouth is. But I believe God knows our hearts, and there are times in our lives when giving that 10% will cause severe hardship in many ways. Yes, the law is obsolete. But it the blessing found in Malachi that can come from honoring the tithe still in effect? I think so.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Ah yes Pete, so many teach it that way. The only problem is that we either live under the Law or we don’t; there’s no cherry-picking. In the New Covenant, God doesn’t want 10%, He wants your all, and that comes out to 100% should that be necessary. No sir, 10% isn’t even a very generous tip!

      • Pete says:

        Good point. So i should give 100% of my income? How do i gauge what i should give in monetary terms without some guidelines to go by? Whatever works into the budget?

        • Don Merritt says:

          Pete, the best advice I can give is to ask God to lead you, and then follow Him where ever He goes. It really isn’t God who makes a big deal about money, that’s all on us. God wants YOU. If He leads you to 10%, that’s great. If He leads you to sell all you have and follow Him, that’s great too. Just be sensitive to His leading.

  3. My Way Home Life says:

    God has been so good to us. The more we give, the more he blesses so that we don’t miss that money. We use 10 percent as a starting point, and we’ve always been able to pay our bills and meet other needs. It’s been exciting through the years to see God’s working in our lives, and I encourage others to take this step of faith and give.

  4. Wally Fry says:

    I like the way you treated this, Don. So many times when folks say the tithe is gone(which I agree totally that it is,) they immediately start denigrating the fact that, realistically, God’s work still requires finances. That is a simple reality. I use the “tithe” as a place to start, because then it is intentional and regular on my part, then go from there as led. I get that 10 percent would break some people, yet for some 10 percent would not be appropriate, as they have been blessed with financial ability.

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