The Apostle Paul in his letters, 1st Corinthians 16 and 2nd Corinthians 8, He was beseeching better to do Christians in the city of Corinth to take up offerings as to help the poorer brothers and sisters who were suffering in Macedonia during a severe drought that historically took place during the reign of Claudius.
Paul was also taking up offerings from the 1st-century churches to help relieve the burden that was on The Lord’s people back with Peter in Jerusalem who were under dual taxation from both Rome and The Priesthood.
His hope was to bring gifts from believers in Galatia, Macedonia, and Corinth to help other believers abroad who were suffering lack.
An Apostle arriving with relief and gifts assuredly would be good news!
He also pointed out to the wealthier believers in Corinth that the poorer brothers and sisters in Macedonia who were suffering in that drought gave out of their own poverty and even beyond what they were able to give to try and help ease the burden that other Followers of Christ were enduring and he was encouraging the followers in Corinth to consider that same kind of faith and generosity, reminding them that they should continue with the same generosity that they had begun with and not die down in what was their previous zeal to give.
Most pointedly, The Apostle Paul so eloquently makes clear in 2nd Corinthians 8:12-13;
“For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. It is not our intention that others may be relieved while you are burdened, but that there may be equality.…”
This is a beautiful demonstration of Christian brotherly love and sacrifice. One denying himself perhaps some of his own greeds so that others can be provided their needs.
In today’s culture where competition and a drive to win is often rewarded and coupled with disrespect and the belittling of others who are not…
When we look at the unfortunate plights of others, be that struggling with finances, mental health, emotional well being, fear, anxiety, hurt, with words and titles like “lazy” or “loser” and then use that as our excuse to write them all off and continue onward in our own selfish pursuits.
Well, I believe Pauls imploring of equality may come across as a bit culture shocking to many in our own day and age.
Much of our own modern-day politics and religion do not line up with the heart that was behind all of this giving in The New Testament.
At heart, the real message here was brothers and sisters willing to go with a little less so they all could have what they need, especially in times of peoples severe drought and unfortunate hardships.
Thus, making many of those so-called lazy losers, in fact, our very real brothers and sisters.
Stay in Love, Pastor Scott Boggs