2 Corinthians 8:8-15
I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something— now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,
‘The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.’
Reflection by Duke Yaguchi
This scripture causes me to take pause. It speaks to fairness, giving and equality. It also speaks to how to view one's station in life. We should look at our abundance not by what we don't have but by what we do have. It's easy to think of what we don't have. As Pastor Courtney has mentioned in her sermons, the secular, capitalistic society bombards us with messages of what we should have. It tries to tell us that desires are needs, and needs are necessities. One only has to watch commercials on TV for a few hours to create a long list of things we don't have. And if it isn't an abundance of stuff, it is an arm-long list of pharmaceuticals that will provide us a pain-free, worry-free life.
But this scripture is asking to view ourselves with a different lens. Examine what we do have, not what we don't have. I know that I am blessed. Even when I examine non-material riches I am blessed. Memories of living in a relative vacuum of love have not completely faded. I was going through a divorce with whom I thought was my life partner. My children saw me every other weekend, and not always with joy or anticipation. My parents thought I should just walk away from everyone and everything. That it would be less painful that way. Many friends grew distant thinking that divorce is a contagious disease. My work became a lonely place of being a road warrior spending time with hundreds of strangers. New places and new faces. The unfamiliar becoming my familiar. So I know that I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams. I thank God for all that I have. So many friends have stayed friends. I've found Polly along the way. We've stayed connected with two out of three children, four out of six grandchildren. I was able to get to a very loving relationship with both of my parents before they passed. I have much to be thankful for.
Materially, we are very blessed as well. I got my first car at age 20. It was a Toyota Corolla that had been in three accidents. All sides were bashed in except the back. I bought it for $100. I drove it for two years and sold it for $50! It got me from point A to point B. Now I drive two BMWs. Though they total 180,000 miles, both are in tiptop shape and should last many miles more. They have more features and functions than I could have ever imagined even a few years ago. One new tire cost more than my first car. I have so much to be thankful for!
This scripture is asking us not to judge others, but to judge ourselves! Judge ourselves not by what we lack, but by what we have. And give accordingly. I know that I am blessed. The question is, what do I do with my blessings?
Dear Lord, I am humbled by my abundance. Please help me see the fairness in giving to those in need. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.