It is clear from passages like this one that Paul was a human and dealt with other humans in an humane and practical way. Christianity is proven life changing or otherwise when the rubber hits the road! Paul has been rather adroit in his dealings with the giving from the churches to the poverty stricken fellowship in Jerusalem: he has been encouraging the Corinthians to greater acts of generosity by quoting the example of the Macedonians and at the same time encouraging the Macedonians by quoting the Corinthians! He is now ensuring that this comes together well by sending an advance party to chivvy the rich Corinthians in preparation for his official visit. We can read a little, then, about giving: 1. Someone may give as a duty. The person may give as one does when sending a cheque to the tax man if self-employed. 2. Someone may give to find self-satisfaction. The person may be far more focussed on his or her sense of self-gratification at the largesse of the gift than feelings for the person who receives it. 3. Someone may give from motives of prestige; the source of the giving coming not so much from a loving heart as a proud one! Probably the gift would not even have been made if there hadn't been an audience to applaud. 4. In one sense, none of these ways are wholly bad, because at least the gift has been made and those in need will benefit. However, the best way to give is under the compulsion of love. Many Christians tithe and a good solid financial commitment to church, mission, charity or individual has much to be praised. But, be prepared to give when a need reveals itself. Just to say, I will finish this blog on 1 and 2 Corinthians by the end of this month. I won't be writing a blog during August. I'm considering that I will stop completely, but please send me your thoughts and any Biblical books you would like me to blog on. I will think and it may come back in a different format. God bless you and guide you.
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