September 17, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (2 Corinthians 8)

Submitted by Ilju W. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

2 Corinthians 8:10-12

  • Think about some past commitments to God, or some work of love or giving I once had a desire to do.  In what ways do I need to heed the challenge in v. 11 to “finish doing” what I started, or “completing” something I once had a “readiness in desiring” to do?

One commitment that I have made about 2 years ago was to take on the role of spiritual mother.   I made a commitment that I will love people and minister to people even if it may bring hurt and pain, that I will mature to become someone who will embrace others hurts and pains so that I can sharing in God’s heart and love them as I have been loved by God.  From this passage, I am once again challenged to finish what I have committed to do.  I could easily avoid this commitment by not really wanting to find out about others’ problems or struggles.  I don’t want to get involved because I think that I am too busy, that I have my own life to take care of, and I don’t need additional stress.  And how often, just busyness of life makes me shallow in my ways of relating to people and not actively engage in loving people that I am ministering to.  I cannot have busyness of ministry as an excuse for me to not see people in my life with that of the father’s heart.  I have to complete the commitment that I have made to God making sure that I not taking the easy way out in loving people.  It is not about making others feel good or having them like me.  No, I have to speak the truth to them in love and I have do that hard work of struggling with sins and stronghold with them.  I have to not be afraid to ask questions and open the can of worm.  I have to get involve in people’s life.

  • Why is it important that the “readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it?”  What does this say regarding the nature of giving and other Christian work? 

It is important that the “readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it” because finishing is as important as initiating.  If the Corinthians were eager to give money and they pledged a certain amount, yet time passed by and they have not fulfilled their pledge, then the pledge becomes meaningless to the Corinthians and a source of sourness for the Christians in Jerusalem who heard of their eagerness to help them out.  Without completion of the work we have begun out of the readiness in desiring, we may become deluded.  It is always easier to start something than to finish it.  But if a person keeps on starting different things but never go through the hard work of finishing it, the person may come to think that the person has done a lot of good works, when in reality, the person has only created a lot of unfinished works.

Words are not enough when it comes to giving or Christian works.  It requires actions.  And especially when it comes to loving someone, it is important that we finish the work of loving.  We cannot just start loving someone and later drop the ball because it becomes difficult. Or, say that we will support someone then never follow up on it.  If I give up on something that I started because something else comes up or I get tired or I forget, then I would never mature and also in the process I would have caused more damage in peoples’ lives.  It would be so discouraging for someone who was expecting my help but doesn’t receive it because I neglected to complete what I promised to do.

2 Corinthians 8:13-15

  • In what way have I experienced verses 14-15 through the community of faith?

One way that I have come to experience verses 14-15 through this body of Christ was through recently becoming a mom.  I have become a mom in April, and being a mom I needed a lot of help because I did not know much about being a parent.   I am very thankful for our church because I know that Jon and I could not have gone through this time by ourselves.  I could have read up on how to be a good mom and made sure that I do all the right things, buy the all the right things, just devote all of my time to my child.  But those things would not compare to what I have gained from other moms from our church.  I received so much wisdom and tips from older moms about childrearing.  How I would have wasted my time and emotion worrying about our child because he was a little bit off from his usual pattern if it was not for the words of comfort from the older sisters that it is not a big deal.  Now, with my friends becoming a new mom, I can help them by giving them some pointers and tips that saved me a great deal of work. And on any given day, I can easily find someone to watch our child while we have to go run errands or meet up with different people.   In the past while I was single, I would help my leaders’ with their children by babysitting for them here and there.  And now, I am experiencing the same things.  The younger sisters are so eager to watch our child, so that I can go meet up with people or go to different meeting.

Personal Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Help me to be a person who is not all about words or just filled with passion of doing things, but never finishing anything.  Oh Lord, help me to be mature in my ways, that I would take on the heart of the father, to love others as you have loved me.  I commit to not taking the easy way out of life, but that I would follow your footsteps and embrace hard work and giving myself to loving others.  Lord, as I have experience how my leaders did not hold back in loving me and struggling with me that led me to your love and freedom in you, help me to take on that role for others whom you have brought into my life.  Lord, help me to not live a selfish life and self-centered life, but a life of giving as that would be the only fair thing and right thing to do with my life for I have received so much from you and from this body of Christ.

In Jesus’ name. Amen

Submitted by Lawrence W. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

2 Corinthians 8:10-12

  • Think about some past commitments to God, or some work of love or giving I once had a desire to do.  In what ways do I need to heed the challenge in v. 11 to “finish doing” what I started, or “completing” something I once had a “readiness in desiring” to do?

I come out a ‘feeler’ in the Myers-Briggs personality test and so therefore I often can make commitments after a stirring message, a retreat, a prayer meeting or through spending time in God’s Word through daily devotions. But I know amongst all the commitments I have made to God in the 5 or so years I have been Christian, by no means have I kept them all. For different reasons I didn’t follow through on those commitments I made and it might’ve been because the busyness of life caught up with me, the practical side of me said this commitment was unreasonable given new facts or the reasons behind making the commitment have become fuzzy through the passage of time.  A past commitment I had was to prioritize prayer and to pray at least 30 minutes a day. Hearing Apostle Paul exhort the Corinthians to follow through on their promise to help the Jerusalem church financially reminds me of this particular commitment I made to God to pray more.  The importance of prayer was clearer before but that clarity won’t matter very much if I don’t follow through on that commitment and actually make prayer a priority in my life by actually carving out time to pray.

  • Why is it important that the “readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it?”  What does this say regarding the nature of giving and other Christian work? 

It’s one thing to be able to say lofty words of commitment, “God I will do anything for you!” or “I’m going to go to the ends of the earth to share the gospel!” But if just left at that, mere words, those commitments don’t mean much. I think that’s why people often say talk is cheap. Anyone can utter those words of commitment but a minority actually do wind up “completing it.” I heard a vivid picture of this idea illustrated once in a sermon where because people often talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, heaven is going to be full of lips. It’s a startling and strange image that is quite convicting to me that my “readiness” in whatever promises I make to God or to people must be matched by my completing it. Otherwise I run the risk of becoming a person that is good at making un-finished commitments. So much growth is possible if I work, strive and struggle toward some goal. Christian growth is not any different. I have to make specific commitments to God but that’s merely the first step. The more important step is seeing them to completion. With regard to Christian work then, the devil would be entirely happy if I spent all day thinking of commitments and making them but didn’t struggle at all in terms of actually how that would play out in my life and keeping tabs on my commitments and how I am doing, I have to be very careful as it’s easy to make commitments in the mornings after reading a passage from the Bible. It would do me a lot of good to spend the time and effort keeping track of the commitments I make and making it a habit to go back and ask myself honestly, “how am I doing in those commitments” and “is there anything I need to recommit to?”

2 Corinthians 8:13-15

  • In what way have I experienced verses 14-15 through the community of faith?

I have experienced my abundance supply others needs and vice versa, others’ abundance supplying my need. God has blessed my life in that I have never experienced much financial need. Given that, God has given me plenty of opportunities to help supply others’ needs. But being someone that was spiritually very poor through the majority of my life, I experienced the community of faith, or the church, supplying my spiritual needs. Coming into college, I was pretty poor spiritually, having never cracked open a Bible nor thought much about Christianity. I was someone very far away from God. But God placed people in my life who had an abundance or room in their hearts and lives to spend time with me and share God’s love with me. There was plenty of people that had experienced God’s abundant love and wanted to share that with me my freshman year. I think about people like Pastor Will who ministered to me or a group of seniors (Franklin, Matt and Tom) who lived above me in my dorm or even my friend Will who I know did all he can to share the gospel with me and spent years praying for my salvation. These people had an abundance that really did supply my need. Having experienced the grace of God and God filling their cups, they now had the desire to go out and deny themselves.  I’m always exceedingly thankful for them and their willingness to share their abundance but more important to God who was the one that first saved them and positioned them in a place to minister to me.

Personal Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thinking back on my life and thinking about all the commitments I have made and not followed through on, I repent for my flakiness. I don’t want to become someone that is an expert at making empty commitments. Father I know prayer, at this stage in life giving all the transitions and changes that are happening right now is absolutely crucial. So God I pray that you would help me set aside times during my lunch breaks or immediately after work to spend time praying. Thank you also for reminding me through today’s DT all the ways in which you filled other people’s lives so that their abundance could bless me. God indeed I have so many blessings to count. I pray that now that I have experienced the gospel and having my cup filled that I can go out and be that abundance in other people’s present need. There is definitely a need as the harvest is so plentiful and God you are indeed a zealous one drawing Christians as well as non-Christians during this new school year. Lord thank you for speaking to me today, I pray this all in Jesus name, Amen.

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