Fifth Sunday of Pentecost
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
The mother church in Jerusalem was in crisis!
She was in great need, trying to continue her ministry. We don’t know exactly what the need was, only that she was in need of a lot of money. Hearing of this, Paul, who was in Macedonia, starts a fundraising drive to help erase that need.
Seeing the Macedonians and their generous hearts, even with their own needs, Paul asks them to help the mother church. So, even with their own poverty yet with their overflowing generous hearts, the church responded to those needs.
Now, no gift can be in any way a real gift without the giver,giving a bit of themself wrapped into the gift.
The same is so very true with all our gifts given unto our LORD. Paul sites several reasons for being generous. He set the example that others could follow. The church in Macedonia was a poor church, yet a church very generous in helping others.
Another example is that of our Lord Jesus the Christ. He sacrificed Himself on the cross. The generosity showed there did not start with the crucifixion. Nor did it being at His birth; rather it began in Heaven when He chose to lay down His life so that all of us might have abundant life on Earth and eternal life of peace in heaven.
I want to praise you as members of the Peniel Church. When I requested a special offering for Nepal’s Earth Quake, while we took some out of the Mission Fund, we raised nearly $500 more through your individual giving.
Paul reminds us of the strange way that life has a way of evening things out. It’s a true saying that far more often than not we find the measure we respond to others is the same measure that is returned to us.
We cannot outgive God! Paul includes his appeal with phrases from Exodus 16:17-18, the sharing of the Manna and quail in the wilderness. The Israelites did as they were told. Some gathered much manna; others gathered less.
When they measured it by the omar, he who gathered much did not have too much and he who gathered little had not too little.
We need to realize all of our gifts given unto our Lord, proportional to our ability, is a blessing.
No gift is too large and no gift is too small. Remember the lady with the 2 mites? The Lord measures all of those gifts using the same yardstick.
The more we put into something, the more we get out. Our Christian action is response to our faith. If we put only a little of our faith into actions, very little will we get out of it.
Matthew 6:1 does caution about giving to the needy: "Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."
2 Corinthians 9:7 says:
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
So we gave almost $1,500.00 to the people of Nepal, who will never know who you are,
but they will know it came from the Church.
Let us pray!