Read - 2 Corinthians 9
Message - Scott Woodburn
Some of you will get this, some not, but bear with me. What was the difference between Ross and Rachel? Rachel would never have made a list. I'll not bore you with a detailed explanation of that reference, simply to say that Ross needed some convincing while Rachel did not.
As far as today's passage goes, Paul didn't have a list either, he was utterly convinced that the Corinthians would act to support the church catholic. He begins by saying it is superfluous (sue-pur-floo-us) for him to write about this (v1). It is unnecessary, it is needless. How so? The Corinthians (and the wider church in the region of Achaia) have been ready since last year to provide help (v2). Indeed Paul has told the church in Macedonia of this fact and so Corinthian zealousness had stirred up similar readiness elsewhere.
So in light of this Paul sends Titus and two other brothers (2 Corinthians 8) to gather up the Corinthian collection for the poor in Judea (v3). He had no desire for his claims to be found empty (v3) and wanted to give the Corinthians time to get ready and be fully prepared (v3b). Imagine the humiliation if the Corinthians had been visited by the Macedonians and the collection was only 75% complete? (v4) It would be like an American State taking days to count votes.
To avoid any embarrassment, Paul sends the brothers on ahead (v5a) to ensure that the promised Corinthian gift is ready and willing to go (v5b). It would be given freely and generously and couldn't be called an exaction (v5c). An exaction? What does Paul mean? At home on the odd occasion individuals would call at the door with a collection jar urging a donation for loyalist prisoners. At other times the collection would be for band uniforms for a brand new marching band that you would never hear about again. The average person didn't want to give money but felt it was probably cheaper to put a few coins in the jar rather than replace mysteriously smashed windows at a later stage. This was an exaction. An unjust and imposed demand.
The Corinthians would not be exacted, instead they, with zeal and readiness, would excel in giving to the work of the church. May we share in their zeal and be always ready to give to the work of the Lord. Our pension pot may seem like a more useful place to store our treasure and when things are tight we naturally prefer to batten down the hatches at home before giving to the outside. Yet I simply ask is there anything of more value than Christ? His kingdom is the only one that will last and any investment in His kingdom will never be lost.
Q10 How did God create man? God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.