2 Corinthians 8:14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.
There was a time in my childhood when my siblings and I were all fostered out to our aunts and uncles. It was during the summertime and my mother had been taken in to the local lunatic asylum. My Dad was unable to stay off his work to look after us and so we were broken up as a family to be cared for by our relatives.
I was fostered to my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Phamie. They had a large family of their own which meant that my brother Andy and I were taking up precious space and using their resources. We were still too young to understand how much of a sacrifice our relatives were making, but I now realize that their kindness and compassion during that lost summer kept our family from being broken up by the Social Services.
My cousins were great about giving up their rooms and played with us all summer long. It turned out to be one of the best school vacations that I’ve ever experienced. I think it also made me appreciate my wider family and now that I’m thousands of miles away from them, I cherish them all in my heart.
When Paul refers to equality in 2 Corinthians 8, he’s writing about Christian charity. In these tough economic times, Christian charity goes a long way to help others in need. Instead of getting hung up about ordination issues or biblical doctrines, we need to set aside our differences and make war on want, poverty, hunger, and inequality.
If it hadn’t been for my relatives practicing real Christian charity to my family all those years ago, I don’t know where I would have ended up. I guess the challenge for me today is this: where can I best practice the same principles today and effectively use my God-given resources to help others in need?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the blessings that You have given to us each day. Help us to refrain from hoarding and instead to seek opportunities where we can fully practice Your charitable and faithful teaching. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s passage or receive these devotionals via email, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to help other people, but don’t know where to start, check out www.kiva.org. It’s an international charity where a contribution of $25 can help families in developing countries set up their own businesses.