Read 2 Corinthians 8:1–15
Ministry: Asia’s Hope…Providing family-style care for orphaned children in SE Asia
Leader: John McCollum
As Executive Director of Asia’s Hope, I can identify with both the donors in Corinth and the recipients in Judea. We rely on the generosity of churches in developed countries to meet the needs of more than 800 orphaned children and 200 indigenous staff living at our 35 family-style children’s homes in Cambodia, Thailand and India.
We learn in this passage that the Corinthian Christians were among the first — and most eager — participants in Paul’s financial appeal for the church in Judea, which was suffering under persecution and poverty. Unfortunately, the church in Corinth was losing its enthusiasm and having second thoughts about fulfilling a commitment for funding the ongoing work.
After commending the faithfulness of those in Macedonia, Paul affirms the Corinthians. And then Paul addresses the questions lurking in the minds of his audience: “How much should we give? How long do we have to keep giving?”
Instead of offering a command or giving them guidelines that could limit their generosity, Paul lays out principles that inform my work as Asia’s Hope’s primary fundraiser.
We should be motivated by gratitude to God, not by guilt or fear. Our generosity is not only a result of our gratitude, it’s a litmus test of the sincerity of our love for God.
We should give at our maximum capacity. Paul highlights the faith of the Macedonian church who gave “even beyond their ability.” He answers the implied question of “How much is too much?” by saying, “The goal is equality, as it is written: ‘The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.’”
The oft-bandied notion that financial generosity always leads to unhealthy ‘dependency’ is one foreign to the Bible. The text here is clear: God connects our brothers’ and sisters’ suffering with our excess. Those who truly love God will be moved to energetic and ongoing generosity to His work around the world.
Imagine if we, as American Christians, believed not only that our generosity demonstrated our love for God, but that we should give to global ministry until there was equality between our church and family and churches and families in places like Cambodia, Thailand and India. Would any child have to die of starvation? Would any parent ever need to hand their kids over to traffickers? Would any person on the planet not know that Jesus and His people loved them?
As you pray for Asia’s Hope, please ask God to pour out His love so extravagantly on the church in America that congregations, families and individuals respond with “Macedonian-style” generosity toward orphaned and vulnerable children around the world.
John McCollum is the co-founder and Executive Director of Asia’s Hope (www.asiashope.org). He and his wife, Kori, live in Columbus, Ohio. They have a teenage daughter and two adult sons.