Monday, June 29, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Read 2 Corinthians 9:1-5
Here Paul acknowledges how much he has at stake in the Corinthians' response to the collection for the poor. He has boasted to the Macedonians about the Corinthians, saying that they have been ready to give since the past year.
In a worst-case scenario, if the Corinthians are not prepared and some Macedonians discover it, there is a potential for humiliation, both for Paul and for them. The Roman culture was dominated by codes of shame and honor, so Paul is rightly concerned.
To avoid such an outcome, Paul is sending some brothers as an advance guard to ensure that the Corinthians are prepared by the time Paul arrives. He is also concerned that the gift be perceived as generous and bountiful, not grudgingly given.
Giving and responding to others are best when they flow willingly and not grudgingly. If we start with a sense of obligation, we will never understand the freedom. If we begin with the celebration of God's abundant gifts to us, then the zeal for giving generously will flow from that awareness.