Have you ever experienced an initial burst of enthusiasm about a project, gotten a good start, and then stopped along the way and wanted to give up? Sometimes we find ourselves pausing without finishing. The Corinthians needed to finish what they started and complete their harvest for the mission in Jerusalem. They needed this reminder, since for various reasons they had stopped the mission.
Paul speaks to them about their willingness and rush to collect an offering; they have begun the collection and done that out of their own eagerness. He highlights the fact that God’s concern focuses on the giver’s heart and attitude. The giver’s motivation makes the gift acceptable or unacceptable, and he does not want to pressure them. However, he points out that God’s purpose is to help them understand that money is not real wealth nor the only reason for living. The exalted Christ became human, became poor, and lived and died that they may be rich. Christ completed his task; he finished what he proposed. For that reason, the Corinthian Christians and the Christian church today must act.
God does supply our needs. When we understand that we are part of the mission, we do not stop on the way but continue forward. The One who called us is the one who sustains us, who strengthens our tired feet so that we see our commitments through to the end!
God, I often feel tired in my journey, and I confess that sometimes I think about stopping here and not going on. I recognize that I am not always grateful. Forgive me, Lord. Renew my courage and strength to continue in the knowledge that I am not alone. Amen.
David is remembered in scripture as a mighty king but also as a great poet. Many of the Psalms are ascribed to him. In Second Samuel we find a poem, a song of lamentation over Saul and Jonathan. Saul was violently jealous of David, yet David still honored Saul as God’s anointed king. Jonathan was David’s best friend, and David bemoans Israel’s loss of these two leaders. The author of Psalm 130, although probably not David, appeals to God in David-like fashion. The Gospel reading takes us in a different direction, showing the power of a woman’s faith. In Second Corinthians, Paul deals with practical matters. The Corinthians had promised to send financial help to the believers in Jerusalem. Now that pledge needs to become a reality.
• Read 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27. When have you acknowledged, upon his or her death, the value of a person you deemed an enemy?
• Read Psalm 130. When have you cried out to God from the depths of your despair? What was God’s response?
• Read 2 Corinthians 8:7-15. When have you lost enthusiasm for a project that had originally ignited your interest and best efforts? How did you rekindle that interest?
• Read Mark 5:21-43. What has been your experience with God’s plans and timetable?
Respond by posting a prayer.