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Words of Faith 11-14-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Corinthians 8

     [14] At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, [15] as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."


     What is plenty? What did Paul mean in saying that the Corinthians were, at present, in a time of plenty that was divinely intended to supply the need of others? How do we know if we are in a time of plenty?

     One difficulty is that the Greek word Paul used here can mean either a "surplus" or a "super abundance.” While for many of us we rarely feel that we have a "super abundance", there are probably many times that we have more than we need-- a surplus. What do we do with that? Are we to concern ourselves with sharing only when we experience a super abundance?

     Our culture tells us that if we have any "surplus" discretionary resources or even unused credit we are obligated to spend it on ourselves. We deserve it. Our economy is largely built on self indulgence. Others urge us to save or invest in order to gain security.

     How do we even know if we are in a time of plenty? We can feel that we are going through a very tough time financially-- meeting many bills and obligations-- when, in fact, we are extremely blessed with abundance. A friend of mine recently sent me some statistics about world economics and the blessings enjoyed by us as we live in the United States. They are interesting--

   If you have had an education and know how to read, then you are more blessed that over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all. If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who won't survive the week. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change lying in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy. And if you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

   So "plenty" is something of a relative term. If we stop to look around, we may see a surplus we had not noticed. In times of plenty, what are we to do? The Bible is not at all opposed to saving or investment. The Bible teaches the discipline of tithing and first-fruit offerings. But Paul points out that part of our consideration is that God may have provided a surplus in our lives for the purpose of meeting a need in the lives of others.

     What is the answer? Paul doesn't call us to do anything but to listen to the Spirit and realize that a time of plenty may be divinely intended to supply the need of others. There probably is some surplus in our lives almost all the time. The trust factor is simply to ask God what it is that He wants done with that surplus.


   Father God, help me to see and appreciate my blessings. Help me to see the surplus You have provided and to hear Your voice regarding Your intention. Help me to see the needs of others in the Body of Christ and respond to the leading of Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name.