This morning our NT lesson was 2 Corinthians 8:1-9, 13-15. It really got me thinking about the nature of democracy and federalism here in the United States. I think that the LCMS figures that it's a lesson in stewardship, tithing or giving offerings so that the church can use your money for missions and ministry. Which is excellent, but believe it or not, I think that it can also be used in a broader social sense. People talk about being a good steward of your own resources or Christian-environmentalism as being good stewards of the earth.
I know most of my dearly loved Republican friends might just cringe at this, but please continue to read the rest of this post after first considering the Bible exerpts:
1And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. 5And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will. 6So we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. 7But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
Now, the main message is clear- here these Macedonians who were poor themselves joyfully begged Paul to be able to help the needy in Jeruselum. How incredible is that? Seems like some of the most generous and caring folks are the ones with the least to give.
8I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
13Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14At 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, 15as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."