Your plenty will supply what they need. 2 Corinthians 8:14
School cafeterias, like large catering businesses, often prepare more food than is consumed simply because they can’t perfectly predict the need, and leftover food goes to waste. Yet there are many students who don’t have enough food to eat at home and who go hungry on weekends. One US school district partnered with a local non-profit to find a solution. They packaged leftovers to send home with students, and simultaneously addressed the problems of both food waste and hunger.
While most people wouldn’t look at an abundance of money as a problem the way we do with wasted food, the principle behind the school project is the same as what Paul suggests in his letter to the Corinthians. He knew the churches in Macedonia were experiencing hardship, so he asked the church in Corinth to use their “plenty” to “supply what they need[ed]” (2 Corinthians 8:14). His objective was to bring equality among the churches so none had too much while others were suffering.
Paul didn’t want the Corinthian believers to be impoverished by their giving, but to empathize with and be generous to the Macedonians, recognizing that at some point in the future they too were likely to need similar help. When we see others in need, let’s evaluate whether we might have something to share. Our giving—however large or small—will never be a waste!
How has God supplied your needs through another person or group? How can you offer similar generosity?
Father, please awaken me to the needs of others so I might give of the resources You’ve given me. When I’m in need, help me to trust You to provide through those who also love You.
A theme of 2 Corinthians is the paradoxical way God’s grace and power are revealed through vulnerability and struggle. Only through journeying through death can we experience Christ’s resurrection life. Paul explained, “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7–10).
In 2 Corinthians 8, we encounter the Macedonian believers who were an example of this paradox. Even while experiencing extreme suffering and poverty, they were moved and empowered to give with astounding generosity (vv. 2–3). In so doing, they followed Jesus’ example, through whose poverty believers “become rich” (v. 9).