Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you — so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking. (2 Cor. 8:7)
In my second to last Wednesday Words I could not pass up the opportunity to lift up St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians regarding their participation in the offering that was being taken for the saints in Jerusalem.
The Corinthian congregation is similar in many respects to many current day congregations. They are located in a cosmopolitan city. It was a hustling, bustling area of trade and business. The community was made up of educated people many of whom achieved the highest level of competence in their chosen fields.
Most of the members of the congregation were affluent, but like today affluence often creates division in communities and congregations. Paul calls attention to this in his discussion of their communion practices in his first letter to them.
In this letter (particularly in chapters 8 and 9) Paul calls upon the whole community to share from their affluence and abundance for the sake of the whole church. He acknowledges how they excel in faith, speech, knowledge and eagerness. Now he exhorts them to excel also “in this generous undertaking.” He urges them to reflect on their abundance in relationship to their neighbors need.
I invite you to continue to do the same as you lead the way in areas of outreach to the community and the world. Our mission support leads the way with a minimum of 18% of our giving being shared with ministries beyond ourselves.
We seek to lead the way in providing generous salaries and benefits for our ordained leaders and competitive salaries and retirement contributions, disability, and life insurance for our lay staff.
We strive to maintain and take care of our property and support the resources needed to do ministry with children, youth and adults. We continue to reach out to invite others to join us in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Please keep on keeping on in the eagerness with which you began this ministry. All gifts are important so that we may continue to excel in everything “Reflecting Christ in Message and Actions.”