September 28, 2011

Thursday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 56, 2 Sam. 18:19, 2 Cor. 8:1-15
Evening - Ps. 66, Mt. 5:38

Commentary
2 Corinthians 8:1-15

The subject of this part of 2 Corinthians is Christian charity. The Christians of Jerusalem were in dire need. Paul urged the churches he founded to gather an offering and send it to Jerusalem for their relief. The Corinthians had not done so, despite their being in relatively prosperous circumstances. So Paul urges them again to contribute. He begins by telling them of the gifts from Macedonian churches. "[W]e do you to wit" (8:1), means "we want you to know" and refers to "the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia." By God's grace they were moved to give generously though they were in affliction and poverty (8:2). They were persecuted, and persecution drove them to poverty, yet they gave unselfishly.

Their generosity moves Paul to ask the prospering Corinthians to give also (8:6). But the gift must be their choice, not Paul's. He gives no Apostolic command here (8:8-10). Rather he urges them to give out of Christian love, as Christ gave Himself to them in love (8:9). Verses 12-15 do not teach socialism. They teach that we help our truly needy brethren, knowing that if we become needy they will give to supply our need. We are not to give to our detriment, nor are we to support laziness and ease (8:13). The "equality" of verse 14 does not mean that all should have an equal amount of the world's goods, but that all should give to help the truly needy.

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