October 12: Deciding and Following Through

Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15

Has it happened to you?  You sat through some kind of stirring presentation of the needs of people elsewhere.  Perhaps their need was food.  Maybe it was clean water.  It could have been medical care.  Maybe it was housing or education.  In the presentation, it was clear that those highlighted just don’t have the means to care for the need.  What do you do next?

The Corinthians had heard of such a need.  They had heard about believers in Jerusalem who were suffering because of a famine in their area.  Stirred deeply, they made a pledge of financial commitment.

Committing to give is one possible response for you.  Of course, you need to exercise great caution in doing so.  The decision is yours.  You should not be arm-twisted into giving.  You will need to look beyond the tear that forms in your eye in the emotion of the moment and consider the cost that giving will create in daily living (9:7).  You should weigh the reality of the need and the reputability of those involved in distributing it (8:16-24).

But making the commitment to give is not the same as fulfilling the promise you made.  That, my friends, was one of the primary problems with the Corinthian church.  They had vowed to give, but hadn’t followed through.  With time, the passion had died and the tears had dried.  Paul said it well. Slowly but surely, covetousness can replace generosity (9:5).  “What I can do with the money” can become more important than “how much others need my gift.”  “I can’t wait to give!” can be replaced by “Why did I ever commit to give?”

Paul wrote, however, to remind these believers of the importance and even the blessing of their follow through.  Their gift was needed.  Their pledge was counted on.  The people involved were reliable.  And, after all, Jesus had modeled sacrificial generosity.

Is there a real need that you are prayerfully considering?  Make the decision wisely!  Is there a commitment you have made that is now difficult to complete?  Follow through with joy!

sbk

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