Pentecost +4 – Year B
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
We just completed a successful Capital Fund Campaign. Our scripture theme was 8:12 (CEV) – "It doesn't matter how much you have. What matters is how much you are willing to give from what you have."
The practical use of this passage is thus validated. A part of every encounter with the holy includes, but goes beyond the practical. For instance, the very folks who responded well to verse 12 would have a most difficult time with verses 13-15. Their individual/personal concept of fair stops short of a communal vision of fair. If it should come to actually sharing their surplus and having their deficit covered by others, there would be great grumbling about "socialism". Corporate welfare seems to be alright, but not sharing with the poor. A capital campaign to benefit themselves seems to be alright, but a straight up equivalent for the poor is out of the question, and these are good and generous people. Without lessening our tendency to greed, part of the difficulty is the inability of the whole system to adequately frame the issue.
This is a difficult concept for disciples of any era – from perceptions of Cain regarding Abel, to responses to a woman anointing Jesus, to commitments by Ananias and Sapphira, to any who are hearers but not doers, to the Laodiceans, to prosperity preachers, to profit-first economists, to you and me.
It is so difficult to see what we can do and so easy to see what we can't do. From there it is no stretch at all to cocoon ourselves. Come quickly disaster. Come strongly enough that we will learn.