Be Still Know
2 Corinthians 8.7 NLT
‘Since you excel in so many ways— in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love — I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.’
This is a remarkable verse. The two letters that Paul wrote to the church in Corinth lift the lid on a community which was very divided, disorganised in its worship and in which there were serious disciplinary issues that hadn’t been addressed. And yet Paul was able to come up with a long list of their good qualities! I love the fact that he is so encouraging to them. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed by the failures of people and churches. We get depressed by their inadequacies, but the danger is that we could overlook their qualities, and everyone has some. It would be a good exercise to think about the most annoying person that you know and write down a list of their excellent qualities. The trouble is that if we concentrate too much on people’s shortcomings we will never see their finer qualities, and our relationship with them never stands a chance. And, in just the same way, if we only look at a church’s weaknesses, we may totally overlook the ways in which God has blessed it.
Paul drew attention to the Corinthian church’s great qualities because he wanted to encourage them to be great at giving as well. He was eager for them to make a significant contribution to the collection that he was taking up for the Christians in Judea who had suffered a great famine. He pointed to the example of the believers in Macedonia who, even though they were very poor, had been incredibly generous. He didn’t want the Corinthians to miss out on the blessing of being generous as well. And, because of his love for them, he didn’t want them merely to be good at giving. He wanted them to excel. He wanted them to be the best.
If we love people, then we are not going to be content with them merely doing well. We will want them to be and to do their best. Let’s keep that thought alive in our minds today as we meet people.
Question: What do you learn from the way in which Paul encouraged the Corinthians to give?
Prayer: Lord God, I thank you that you love me so much that you want me to be the best for you today. Amen
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