We are getting so close to the end of our study. We only have a couple of weeks remaining. Our lessons this week continued the theme of giving in addition to the consideration of our own unique ministries from God.
In our first lesson for the week, we read how Paul held the Corinthians accountable to their promise to give to the church in Jerusalem. He sent several men ahead to ensure that they were prepared to give and wouldn’t be embarrassed, ashamed, or obliged to give grudgingly when the Macedonians arrived. Our questions dealt with accountability, preparation, and how to give in the right spirit. The gift of giving can also be applied beyond monetary means. When we promise our time or talents to others, we should see those commitments fulfilled as well.
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
The lesson on Day 2 raised the question about what the concept of sowing generously means. We asked ourselves these three questions.
- “Do you regularly give to your church? If not, why not?”
- “Do you have a surplus over and above your tithe that you can give to a specific need in your church, a ministry, or an individual?”
- “Is God asking you to give something that may not be measured in dollars and cents?”
We were then challenged by Kelly Minter to search our hearts to see if we truly believed that “God makes all grace abound to the cheerful giver so that in all things at all times [we] will have all [we] need.” Using this paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 9:8, our questions centered around cheerful giving and the relational aspect of generosity. When we give generously to others, we help meet and supply the needs that they are lacking. The reverse is also true that a time may arrive when they have the opportunity and privilege to meet the need lacking in us.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Our Day 3 lesson took a shift in tone as we began studying 2 Corinthians 10. This lesson was about tearing down walls and waging warfare. Kelly Minter informed us that the type of warfare to which Paul referred was siege warfare. In this type of warfare, the focus is on tearing down the walls of a stronghold or city. Our questions honed in on this concept as we considered fighting spiritual battles, strongholds, walls built in our hearts, and negative thoughts in our minds. We did a short word study of the phrase take captive found in 2 Corinthians 10:5.
“By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you – I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” when away! I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.” 2 Corinthians 10:1,2
On Day 4, we did a Greek word study of meekness and gentleness. We also considered and answered questions concerning how these qualities would be lived out in a person’s life. One of our concluding questions for this day focused our attention on Christian leaders today and how the worldly standards affect their message and ministry.
“We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that reaches even to you… But, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10:13,17,18
Our last lesson for the week highlighted the trouble with comparing ourselves and our ministries with others’ lives and ministries. In addition, we answered questions about boasting and bragging and the root reason we behave in these manners. We finished our weekly lessons by remembering that God commends and approves us for His choice of service.
Start Session 7 this week! Only two more weeks left in the study!