Year B – Proper 8 – 2 Cor 8:7-15

But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you— see that you excel in this act of grace also.  I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. 11 So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written,“Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”

Summary – Paul uses the example of the Macedonian Christians in the preceding verses, who generously gave to benevolence needs over and above their means to support other Christians.  Paul in this passage exhorts the Corinthians to “excel” in this area just like they excel in many other things.  Jesus’ example is key here:  though He was rich, He became poor for our sake.  And as the Corinthians started out in this area, they are to finish it as well.

Insight – Did you ever start something and not finish it?  A story?  A painting?  A garden?  Cleaning the toys up?  It seems to be the case that when we leave something unfinished, it is harder to start it again because we have to get into the right mindset again.  It seems easier to start fresh or just not at all.  When Paul is writing to the Corinthians he recognizes that they give generously to people in need.  But starting to do that isn’t enough: they are to “finish doing it” or to finish their growing to excellence in this area.  Start to practice generosity, yes, but practice until you’re really good and don’t give up!  Finish well.

Child Catechism – What should you do to get better at serving God?  Practice every day.

Discussion – What are some ways you can stay motivated to learning to excel at generosity?

Prayer – Lord thank you for leaving your heavenly riches and becoming poor for our sake.  May we who are self-centered learn to set aside our “riches” generously for your church’s work, and for those who need it.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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