Summary: Stewardship - special offering, Using the Cheese dip in the Mexican restaurant as a illustration of who provided the cheese.
Today our scriptures come from Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians.
Paul sounds a little like some people I know. You know the type, the ones that volunteer other people for things. I have been blessed to be the one that had his time, effort and occasionally money offered generously to a project or a cause.
It was probably my dad that did it the most. I have known my dad to boast about how much I know about computers. Then volunteer me to spend my night and weekends helping someone with their problems.
I guess I should feel good about what my dad feels about my abilities, but was it really his business to set me up appointments. Was it ok for him to place me in apposition where he would be embarrassed if I did not show up and fix the problem?
In a way that is what is happening in this scripture. In the verses after today’s reading, Paul tells the church at Corinth that he is sending this group of men to assist in the generous offering that He (Paul) has told everyone they will give.
Sounds a little presumptus does in it? Later he even gets really direct saying that he knows that they can afford it.
We have friends, a couple and when we have been out with, the wife, being a very affirming person. She tries to never raise her voice and to always speak with love . She corrects her husband by saying “ Honey, I love you!…But…and there is where the ax fell. She would correct her family about some issue, using what I termed the I love you But.. technique. I love you but your behavior is terrible. I love you But I disagree with what you want to do.
We were in a bible study together when this lady found her biblical justification. As we studied the letters to the Corinthians she found her technique for giving a loving statement then a correction for bad behavior or to call people to action to be well documented by Paul. Paul is the expert when it comes to building up a person or group and then pointing out where they may be missing the mark.
In today’s scripture, Paul picks up his praises toward the Corinthians, faith, speakers, knowledge, enthusiasm and love for Paul and the work of Christ.
Have you ever had someone that filled your ears with complements? They just don’t seem to be able to say enough good things about you. I am afraid that most of us have become too cynical. We just don’t trust someone who complements us, especially if it seems a little too nice. I end up asking, at least on the inside, what do you really want?
As I read the text I started asking myself what does God want? What is Paul saying here that I should be paying attention to?
The situation he is describing, a group of people, in this case believers that are living where there is a drought. They need help in buying food. They are down and out and will have to leave their homes and land if they want to survive. The critical time is coming when the money and food is going to run out.
Whenever we go to a Mexican restaurant, one of my Kids, I won’t name which one. It embarrasses them when I talk about them. Ask to order Cheese Dip to enjoy with the chips. I usually ask for a large one, because I want some too. On more than none occasion the cheese arrives the child pulls the bowl directly in front of them and starts enjoying the dip.
If I try to dip my chip into the bowl and I received a response. ” It’s Not Yo Cheese!”
My response is I guess it is, the same as on the nachos…. And the statement again is It’s Not Yo Cheese! And hands cover the bowl protecting it and keeping me from even a singe taste.
My dear child is telling me that they will not share the large cheeses dip that I ordered on their behalf. The dip that I plan to pay for along with the rest of the meal.
What makes this cheese dip theirs in the first place? What right do they have to claim the whole thing for themselves? How selfish have I let my kids become?
What I believe Paul is saying to the Corinthians is that I know you guys. I know that you want to be involved in this special offering for the people who have really deep needs. I know that you can afford to give something.
He calls on their faith in Jesus, their understanding that he was the Son of God, he was rich beyond all imagination and he gave all that up so that they, the Corinthians and all the other believers could have the same wealth - eternal (heavenly) wealth.