2 Corinthians 8:7-8
As a senior in high school, I was invited to participate in a scholarship competition at a small private college in South Carolina. It was a tremendous growth opportunity and a nerve-wracking experience. The competition required travel from my home in central Florida for at least two visits. Each visit consisted of interviews, information sessions, and fancy meals with our evaluators. They were looking for students who could excel in everything. I played sports, had good grades and a decent SAT score, and participated in many extracurricular activities. Ultimately, though, I didn’t excel in enough areas to win the full scholarship. When the winners were announced, I saw the distinguishing characteristic they had that I didn’t: musical talent. They truly excelled in everything.
Paul acknowledges that the Corinthians do a lot of things well as a church. They excel in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you (v. 7). He urges them to support the impoverished believers in Jerusalem by also excelling in their generosity. On the surface it sounds like flattery, but it can also be read as a challenge. He seems to be saying, “You’re good, but if you want to truly excel in everything, be generous with this special offering also.”
We can wear ourselves out trying to excel in everything as individuals or as a church. Paul wants to remind us that what may be most important is excelling in whatever generous undertaking comes our way.
What would it look like for you to excel in generosity?
God of grace and calling, you have high expectations for your children. Help us today to excel in everything important: faith, speech, knowledge, eagerness, love, and generosity. Amen.