Need and Plenty

 “At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.” 

II Corinthians 8:1-15 

This rich passage of scripture contains some real nuggets of truth which I have often overlooked. Paul makes the case that we have our “riches” through the “poverty” of Jesus. Jesus willingly gave up his position to die a grievous death, only because we were too poor to do that ourselves- we do not have such capacity. Love always entails sacrifice. Indeed, there cannot be love without sacrifice. This was so clearly shown by Jesus.

Paul then goes on to say that the church at Corinth excelled in many areas, but they also needed to excel in the area of giving. Further, he states, that their “plenty” would supply the needs of the church at Jerusalem, but, the help that was given to the church in Jerusalem would fill the “need” of the Corinthians.

The direct and surface conclusion of that statement was that the Corinthians would supply help for the believers at Jerusalem, and that the believers in Jerusalem would reciprocate if situations reversed. However, I think there is a deeper truth to be gleaned here. Paul is saying that by receiving the help from the Corinthians, the church at Jerusalem would actually be supplying the need of the Corinthians. The need of the church at Corinth was to give.

During this time of the COVID-19 health crisis, we have seen some beautiful stories of creative giving. People are finding ingenious ways to help other people. In this way, the dreaded crisis has brought out the very best in the human spirit. I pray that such creative ideas and acts continue long after this crisis has passed.

The lesson for us I think is obvious. Giving is not just for the sake of those who are on the receiving end. Indeed, the need to give to others is fundamental to our spiritual and emotional health. God has designed us as humans to be interdependent. We can only thrive in the context of giving to one another. God has commanded that we meet the needs of His kingdom by giving to others. In so doing, we not only help those who receive our help, we are blessed ourselves. Through sharing our “plenty”, we get what we “need” spiritually and emotionally.

Prayer: Father, your ways are indeed higher than our ways. You show us that living means giving, and you showed that at a dear price through the death of Jesus. Thank you for your instructions for us, and your immense love, Amen.

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