"A Fair Balance"

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Acts 11:27-30

27 At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. 29 The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; 30 this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

1 We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; 2 for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means, 4 begging us earnestly for the privilege of sharing in this ministry to the saints– 5 and this, not merely as we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us, 6 so that we might urge Titus that, as he had already made a beginning, so he should also complete this generous undertaking among you. 7 Now as you excel in everything– in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you– so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. 8 I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something– 11 now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12 For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has– not according to what one does not have. 13 I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14 your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15 As it is written, “The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.” (NRSV)

In the wake of the great famine in Jerusalem, Paul called on the Gentile churches to give to help their brothers and sisters in Christ in Jerusalem. The churches of Macedonia were poor but gave more than they were able and considered it a “privilege” to share in this ministry to help their brothers and sisters who were in need. In 2 Corinthians, Paul is calling on the churches of Corinth to do the same thing. His philosophy—a fair balance. He does not want anyone to be in need, but recognizes that those who have should share with those who do not so that all have some, even if it is not much. We in those states not affected by the hurricane have much and those affected by it have nothing. We are called to share what we have with them.

Our church here in Tucson, Arizona, is considering adopting Ocean Springs Church of Christ. We can help, but it will take more than just us. We don’t have the resources to help rebuild the families’ houses alone. Whether or not you choose Ocean Springs or some other church, I would challenge and encourage those reading this to present the possibility of your church adopting a church family that is hard hit by the hurricane. It will take much time and lots of money and work to help in the rebuilding effort. We need to establish a commitment between brothers and sisters to remain with them until God has brought order and sanity back to their lives.

DeJon and others have posted information about where you can give and how you can help. Let us follow the example of the early churches and give beyond our preconceived capabilities to help those whose lives have been destroyed. Will you help?

Prayer continues…

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