YOUR ZEAL HATH PROVOKED MANY

2Co 9:1-4  “For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready: Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.”

We have all been in situations where it seemed that no one noticed when we were doing a good job at something. On the other hand, they were always quick to tell us when we were failing. Still, it is in our human nature to become resentful of people reminding us of the need to do things we are already diligent to do. Paul here acknowledges something that the church at Corinth was doing right in a way that was encouraging rather than off-putting.

He tells the saints at Corinth that it is unnecessary (superfluous) for him to write to them about serving the saints. The reason it was unnecessary was due to the fact that they had a great willingness for this work. Their desire to help was such that Paul even used their willingness as an example for the churches in Macedonia. The Corinthians had not only made up a donation for the saints at Jerusalem, but they had done so a year earlier.

The saints at Corinth knew that there had been a great famine in Jerusalem. The people of Judea were suffering. Even though the Gentile churches had suffered persecution by some of the Judean brethren, they were still moved by God to send assistance by Paul and others. Their purpose to do this was so great that they laid aside their gift well in advance.

One of the keys to successfully ministering to God’s people is to plan ahead. While we do not know what the future holds, we know that there will always be some need among God’s people that, with a little planning, we may be in a position to offer some relief. This ought to be done with great zeal, purpose, and planning by the church collectively, which means that needs to be great zeal, purpose, and planning by us individually.

Paul concludes his encouragement of the saints here by telling them that their example has prompted others to take a part in this ministry. Still, Paul is careful to be sure the saints at Corinth know about his boasting of their liberality. He sent Titus and others to assure they were ready in case there was anything lacking. After using them as an example for others, he did not want to embarrass them or himself by taking them unawares.

It is a blessing when we are associated with saints of God whose zeal is such that we feel confident to use them as an example to encourage others. However, we should also be diligent to let them know that we hold them up as an example. This should be an encouragement to them to know that we hold them in this regard by God’s grace. It also prepares them to be ready to lend aid as needed.

May God bless us, like Paul, to always encourage giving among the churches; not for our own sakes but for the sake of the saints in need!

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