The Zeal of the Giving Lord Doesn’t Go Broke as it Gives it All
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.
So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.
It’s pretty mind boggling if you think about this. Put it in the context of Philippians 2 and it increases that much more.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
It would have been perfectly acceptable of Jesus to claim equality to God. He did, sometimes, in a 1st century Jewish way. (“If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father,” etc.) But He didn’t claim that equality by His actions. Instead of being poor by bankruptcy, Jesus became poor voluntarily. He have up His divine position in Heaven, where no evil can be present, and came into our broken world of evil.
The other part of this is that He did it voluntarily. It was out of love that He acted and participated in such a thing. The context of Paul’s statements is about a collection that he wants to take to care for the poor, but it works in a lot of our situations too. God has begun something in us that we have the will to continue or to stop. We have the freedom to reject God’s progress or to nurture it.
Paul says to want to complete it as much as we wanted to start it. Sounds like something you’d tell somebody at the end of January about their resolutions. Develop the desire to finish the task so that desire is as great as your desire was to start the task.
Apply that to church! What if our desire to plant the next campus, or to start a new small group, or to send 15 people to Timbuktu (where it’s a sunny 91°F today) was as great as our desire to do those things for the first time?
Dwell in Jesus and seek out His will for the kingdom and you’ll find that He recharges His work. He hasn’t changed. He still wants to reach people far from God and to bring them into a group of people that are His Body. He is zealous for these things and is still the same guy that emptied Himself to accomplish them.