Treasuring Christ Together
2 Corinthians 8:1-15
Whenever I think about the great difference between poor and rich in our world I am embarrassed. I know I am very rich in a world where I also see deep and miserable poverty. How can I live responsable for God whith all my earthly possessions?
I am even more ashamed when I think back at what happened to me in Congo (Africa). Poor farmers gave us, wealthy Dutchman, an enormous bag full of grocery. The apostle Paul tells a story like that in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5. How is it possible for poor people to be so full of generousity?
Look at the example of the Macedonian churches. These christians had ‘overflowing joy’. Not because of being rich. Actually, they had to deal with ‘the most severe trial’. In verse 9 you see what made them so full of joy. Paul writes the Corinthians something the Macedonian christians discovered long ago: ‘you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich’ (see also Philippians 2:6-7). That makes them overflowing with joy. They treasure Christ. The love of Christ for them is there most precious possession. They can give away all because they know they are forever rich with the love of Christ.
Do you treasure Christ? We live in the Netherlands in a culture full of money and wealth. It easily happens that through all this wealth your focus on the love of Christ diminishes. Although there is for rich and poor only one real treasure in this world: the love of Christ. Worldwide christians are bound together by this one treasure.
I hope you now see your responsability. Paul comes up in vers 15 with his ‘manna-rule’. He quotes Exodus 16:18 where is told about the manna of the desertjourney. Every single time when the Israëlites gather the manna a miracle happens: those who gather much do not have too much, and those who gather little do nog have too little. Everyone has exactly enough, no one fell short. Along the desertjourney God did this. But according to Paul, this is now the responsibility of christians: make sure that you do not have too much, and make sure that those who have little do not have too little. That is what I call the manna-rule. God wants this because it is the test of the sincerity of your love for Christ (vers 8). When Jesus really is my greatest treasure, my love for money and wealth disappears.
So meditate on this: when do I have too much? That is different for different people. 2 Corinthians 8 is about your responsability. I experience it as difficult being responsable for how I manage my money: when do I have too much? From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded (Luke 12:48). This is not to frighten you (see the down to earth remark of Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:13). It is all about your heart: do you treasure the love of Christ for you? Christ saves, money does not. And this is the gospel: whith his love for me (vers 9) Christ awakens my love for Him. That is how Christ makes you free from the power of sin and this is how He changes you: He will become the treasure of your heart. More focus on the love of Christ causes more joy in Christ. More joy in Christ causes more growth in generosity. Therefore, focus on the love of Christ. You percieve the power of the love of Christ when poor and rich are treasuring Christ together.