|2 Corinthians 8 |
1 Now, brothers, we want to make known to you the grace of God that has been given to the churches of Macedonia;
2 How in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and deep poverty overflowed in the riches of their generosity.
3 For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they gave willingly;
4 Pleading with much urgency for the favor and the fellowship of ministering to the saints.
5 And they did this, not only as we hoped, but first they gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.
6 So much so that we urged Titus, that since he had begun the same gracious work in you, he would also finish it.
7 Therefore, as you abound in everything: in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that you abound in this also.
8 I do not speak by commandment, but to test the sincerity of your love by [comparing it to] the eagerness of others.
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you might be rich through his poverty.
10 I give my advice in this, for this is profitable for you, who began a year ago, not only to give liberally, but also to be eager to give.
11 Now therefore complete your giving; so that as there was a readiness of desire to give, so there may also be performance according to what you have.
12 For if you have a willing mind to give, your gift is received and accounted according to how much [excess or surplus] a man has, and not according to what he does not have.1
13 For I do not intend that other men should be eased, and you burdened;
14 But to have equality, so that at this time your excess funds may be a supply for their need, and in turn their surplus might also be a supply for your need; thus there may be equality.
16 But thanks be to God, who put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
17 For indeed he not only accepted our appeal; but being even more earnest, he is going to you of his own accord.
18 And we are sending with him the brother, whose praise in the gospel is throughout all the churches;
19 And not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work [of this contribution], which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and to show our eagerness to help one another;
20 For we avoid this, that anyone should blame us in the administration of this generous gift;
21 For we take care beforehand to see that things are done honorably, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
22 Also, we have sent with them our brother, whom we have often found diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, because of his great confidence in you.
23 If anyone inquires about Titus, he is my partner and fellow helper among you; or if our brothers are inquired about, they are the messengers of the churches, and a glory to Christ.
24 Therefore before the churches, show them the proof of your love, and of our reason for boasting about you.
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1 In your journey, even while alone, you must give liberally. From your excess, practice generously giving to others -- particularly the poor. Luke 12:33, 2 Cor 9:9. Don't accumulate treasure on earth that is not lasting, rather lay up everlasting treasure in heaven. For where your treasure is, there will your hear be also. Mat 6:19-21. Give, give, and your Father will reward you secretly. Mat 6:4. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6. Do not confuse giving to others with giving to your sect or tithing. Tithing was totally abolished when the Levitical priesthood was abolished by the everlasting priesthood of Jesus. If you want the Lord's blessing, give to the poor, (see related scriptures).
In a true Christian assembly, there should be no one in need of the necessities of life. We are called on to share from our excess with those in need, particularly those of the brotherhood. As John so well stated: How could the love of God dwell in anyone who has this world's goods, sees his brother in need, and shuts up his feelings of compassion for him? 1 John 3:17. The 17 Century early Quakers showed the fruit of love in their care. From the Summary of George Fox's Life and the History of the Early Quakers:
Regarding the Quakers' care for Friends within the Society: widows, orphans, sick, poor, imprisoned, old, young; they were all cared for by the Quakers. If one assembly was overburdened with expense of care, other assemblies would contribute to their assistance, worldwide. Their care for their own was so thorough that "there was not a beggar among them," and when a local government would discover that they were providing assistance, which the government was obligated to fund, the government would suddenly drop their opposition to their meetings and assemblies.
Regarding their care for all men: from the Journal, "Sometimes there would be two hundred of the poor of other people (non-Quakers) to come and wait until the meeting was done, (for all the country knew we met about the poor); and after the meeting, Friends would send to the bakers for bread, and give everyone of those poor people a loaf, however many there were of them; for we were taught 'to do good to all, though especially to the household of faith.'"
Thus the early Quakers evidenced three characteristics of true disciples: 1) love among them through possession of the fruit of the Spirit, 2) being massively persecuted by those born of the flesh, and 3) the power of miracles and signs accompanying their ministries.
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