In no certain order, from our reading schedule today.
• Amazing that Paul uses the Macedonians as an example to the Greek Corinthians. Demosthenes said the Greeks considered them barbarians. Unity under Alexander the Great’s banner didn’t mollify their feelings any for the Macedonians. Yes, Paul writes about Christians to Christians, but prejudices don’t always drown in the water of baptism, as they certainly didn’t in Corinth. He obviously does it on purpose, as if to say that if God’s grace can work in barbarians in such a fashion, imagine what it can do in (irony to follow) cultured intellectuals like the Corinthians. A bit of competitive spirit here, as well, perhaps?
• I loved this comment: “Paul attributes this abundant generosity not merely to the Macedonians’ own goodness or sense of justice nor to anything he himself did or said, but to the grace of (charis) of God (v. 1). In responding to this gift of grace, the Macedonians have shown their devotion to the Lord (v. 5)” (M.A. Pascuzzi, “The Second Letter to the Corinthians,” New Collegeville Bible Commentary, 2009: 568).
• Though the need is human focused, the motive is God-centered. God acts in them, and they act as an outflow of gratitude to him.
• As much as one looks to human examples, we ultimately need to see in Jesus the supreme model in all things. Be like him. Talk like him. Act like him. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you by his poverty could become rich” (v. 9). No, we’re not divine becoming human like him. But behind every word and act of his lie truths and principles to guide our faith and service.
• Here’s a sideline, a rabbit to chase. We often talk about, ever so rightly, the Bible being our guide in faith and practice. Somehow, I prefer the phrase “faith and service.” Is it just because I like to tinker?
• Words I always need to hear, as one who loves to begin projects: “finish what you started” (v. 11). In spiritual matters, the old saw that “it’s the thought that counts” doesn’t get you brownie points.
• Best to quit now, while my mom is still reading. Even she gets tired of me, after a while. What thoughts do you have on 2 Cor. 8, whether you’re following the schedule or not?