We are now solidly in the section where Paul beseeches the Corinthians to imitate the generous giving of the Macedonians. This is likely referring to the collection Paul was accumulating for the famine-striken Christians in Jerusalem. Paul’s pitch rivals anything I have ever heard in any church capital campaign!
It is this line that catches my attention today:
The abundance of grace that was given to them (the Macedonians), and the depths of poverty they have endured, have overflowed in a wealth of sincere generosity on their part. (8:2)
I am wondering if these are the two most important elements to being a generous giver.
When we become truly aware of how much grace and how many gifts have been given to us by God, a grateful heart is produced. Maybe gratefulness far outweighs expendable income as a key motivator for lavish giving.
It appears the Macedonians knew what poverty was like. They must have had some lean years themselves. They could relate to the plight of the Christians in Jerusalem. Maybe empathy and compassion goes much further towards producing a generous heart than pity or an intellectual sense of responsibility.
What do you think creates a generous spirit?
Categories: 2 Corinthians
Tags: 2 Corinthians, Bible, compassion, empathy, generosity, generous, giving, grace, gratefulness, help, money, need, Paul, poverty, reading
I have to admit I don’t think of Jesus saying much more to Paul on the road to Damascus than verse 15. I have missed the great richness in verses 16-18 of this third version of Paul’s conversion in the book of Acts. I was especially drawn this time to the first part of verse 18:
I will rescue you . . . so that you can open their eyes to enable them to turn from darkness to light. (26:18a)
Remember the context of this original story. Jesus was saying this to a blinded Paul, a Paul who was experiencing nothing but darkness.
I imagine if I were Paul I would have been saying, “Open my eyes! Help me to turn from darkness to light!”
Maybe that was the point of God’s choice to blind Paul.
Drawing on the work of Carl Jung, the now-passed Roman Catholic priest and scholar Henri Nouwen once wrote a great little book called “The Wounded Healer.” His main premise is that just as we see over and over again in the Scriptures, God usually chooses to use “wounded,” broken people to become the “healers” of others. Nouwen even argues that one cannot adequately do the work of a healer until we face, accept and even embrace our own woundedness. Then, just like Jesus who allowed himself to be emptied of glory and wounded on a criminal’s cross, we are really prepared for God’s work.
God’s way of working is beautiful and poignant!
What did you see today?
Tags: Acts, Bible, blind, blindness, empathy, eyes, Henri Nouwen, jesus, Paul, reading, Road to Damascus, understanding, Wounded Healer