Focal Passage: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
I have often wondered what kept Paul going in reference to the Corinthian church. Clearly and obviously the church at Corinth was the most troublesome of all the churches Paul was involved with.
Though accepted canon ascribes only two books to “Corinthians,” most good biblical scholarship believes Paul wrote as many as nine separate letters to these early Christians. If it wasn’t one thing, you might say of the church, it was 10.
Doctrinal arguments stopped only long enough to fight over ritual. Religious practice lasted until they could quarrel over problems in and of the body. But could all the “problems” of the Corinthian church be hung on one theme?
Could it be that their experiences had just become too fake, that they lacked a genuine quality which Paul saw as necessary?
Verse 7 of Chapter 9 of 2 Corinthians is a familiar one to us, at least in part. We have all heard the “God loves a cheerful giver” line. Too often, perhaps, it has been as part of some sort of church giving campaign, or stewardship sermon series. But Paul is talking about “ministering to the saints.” He is talking about doing church in general. He is talking not about smiling as we get out our wallets, but rather about being real as we express our love of God, being genuine as we worship Him.
Bill McCartney was among those who founded the movement we know as Promise Keepers. With the ultra conservative theology and evangelical leanings, it is hard to imagine McCartney in the Mother Teresa camp of the social gospel. But when asked about her, McCartney answered that he had “genuine respect for anyone who truly has given their life to Christ.” A great answer and what we could hope for no doubt. But I think Paul would switch modifiers, saying instead that he had “true respect for anyone who genuinely gives their life to Christ.”
Genuinely giving ourselves to Him starts with genuine worship.