Giving

       2 Corinthians 8:9

“He who was rich, for our sakes became poor.” In this profound statement the apostle is not specifically drawing attention to the life of humility our Lord lived here among men. Possibly that life could be summed up in our Lord’s own words, “the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.” But it is well to remember that in the highest sense, amid His material poverty, He enjoyed a richness beyond all others—at all times He knew perfect communion with His Father, and one who knows that is rich indeed. No— the poverty of which Paul is speaking, and which he said was “for your sakes,” was His dread experience at Calvary, when, for the first time in His experience, even from eternity, there was a break between His God and Himself, which forced from His lips the cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46) That was the poverty—He was alone, as for our sakes He was “made sin.” (2 Cor. 5:21) He could bear being forsaken by His friends, although it caused Him sorrow, but this was something that was utterly devastating. Was it the anticipation of this which, Gethsemane caused Him to “sweat…as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”? (Luke 22:44) What lies behind the words, He “endured the cross? (Heb. 12:2) How great is the mystery, and the cost of our redemption “that we should, by His poverty, become rich.”

But as we look at the context in which these tremendous words are found, from 1 Corinthians 8:1–15, we discover that the Spirit of God is, through Paul, urging his readers, fellow–Christians in the church at Corinth, to consider the needs of others, even the needy believers in Jerusalem.  He speaks approvingly of the attitude of the Macedonian Christians to this problem, but is not impressed with the attitude of the Corinthians, who had talked much about giving, but were slow in doing it. It is worthy of note that in verse 8 the apostle disclaims any thought of “commanding” what they should do, and how they should give, apart from “the sincerity of your love.” Their giving was to be spontaneous, “not of necessity.”

      He was not concerned with the amount given by the individuals—that was a matter between them and their Lord; he was concerned with the spirit in which it was given. How could he drive it home? The Spirit of God said, through him, “Look at Calvary, measure your giving by that.” The hymn writer caught the thought when he wrote words we so often sing, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” How can I look at Calvary, and allow the Spirit of God to “teach me what it meaneth,” and then be stingy, or even unmoved when considering the needs of other believers? Can we really see our Lord giving all, and then cling tightly to our all? Let this mind be in you.