Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15
“A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” – Martin Luther
The context of this passage is concerning the poor saints in Jerusalem and the generosity of the Macedonians believers who had given generously to a special offering Paul was arranging for them.
Ironically, those who began the fire of the Good News going into all the world were now the ones in desperate need. They were at the centre of the most severe persecution during those days….Jerusalem, the centre of Jewish life. These saints were outspoken believers at a great cost. They suffered economically, politically, socially, and emotionally.
Paul tells us that the Macedonians did not do as he expected, but gave themselves FIRST to the Lord and then to Paul and the apostles. Why would this be important to mention?
Because grace generates lordship. Lordship is the humble act of submitting to someone in authority to you. It is for most of us a discipline because very few of us like to be told what we should do. Like it or not, lordship is a dynamic that is a huge part of our discipleship. You simply cannot be a Christian without understanding that you are under authority.
Now, we may understand the idea that we need to submit to Christ. We might not really like the fact that Jesus instructs us to be loving, patient, generous, and even forgiving of those who hurt or offend us. That’s what it means to give ourselves fully to the Lord as the Macedonians did. We submit to Jesus’ will and his lordship and allow Him to mold us and shape our behaviour.
But this idea of submitting to others’ authority? No, that one is a tougher pill to swallow, isn’t it? But I love the NLT’s translation of verse 5: “Best of all, they went beyond our highest hopes, for their first action was to dedicate themselves to the Lord and to us for whatever directions God might give them.” According to Paul, we submit to others to find out what directions GOD might give us!