Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2 Corinthians 8:8-15

"I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack."
2 Corinthians 8:8-15

I really liked this, thinking about the new year/new start theme. The third verse in the selection suggests that we shouldn't just begin, but follow through... that we should be better than we were a year ago. Are we?
The giving/sharing theme here makes some good points. I like that at the beginning of the verses Paul mentions that he isn't asking this as a commandment, but that it is more about proving the sincerity of our love. That makes sense to me. Generosity doesn't seem like something that we can be forced into. It has to come from the heart. That goes along with the "willing mind" line. We don't have to be rich to be able to help the others around us... we just have to be willing to help, and God will show us ways we can do that. I also really liked "I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened." ... We don't have to jump into a vow of poverty in order to start giving to others. We can just give what we have that is extra, so that everyone is helping everyone else.
I definitely don't think this is only about money either. The money part is an important lesson for us, but beyond that, we all have an abundance of something. Sometimes it is money, but sometimes people need other things from us. Love. Wisdom. Faith. Trust. We have talents that we can share to enrich the lives of each other. And that's Zion... a society where everyone is giving to everyone else. Freely, willingly... because we love each other and want each other to succeed.
No matter where we stand today in relation to a year ago, today, let's focus on this year. Let's be better than we ever have been. Let's love the people around us, and give from our abundance generously and freely, lifting each other up and making this world a better place to be. Let's take our next step towards Zion.

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