"I do not meant hat there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of fair balance between your present abundance & their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance."
(2 Corinthians 8:13-14)
It's on many of our hearts right now. The devastation. The death. The dire need. HAITI. In the aftermath of last week's 7.0 earthquake (with the latest figures being at least 200,000 dead and 1.5 Million homeless!), the world is reaching out to respond.. As it should be!
Haiti has always been an impoverished nation. Add now this monumental disaster... and we cannot even begin to fathom the depths of suffering that's taking place there.
Paul, writing to the church in Corinth, is appealing to them to give generously to the collection he's taking for the churches in Jerusalem (who are economically suffering). He speaks of a "fair balance" of wealth, challenging them to give out of their "present abundance" to the need in Jerusalem.
The Church, when at our best, is generous & concerned for the poor and those in need. My trip to the Philippines with Compassion International last spring helped me see the face of poverty first hand. There are other wonderful organizations worldwide that help us make a difference as we share our "abundances" (including the Red Cross, UMCOR, etc.)... and there's no doubt that we in the US are indeed blessed with abundance! Now is the time for us to reach out in love and care to Haiti.
But it helps is we don't think of it as "charity work" or even "extreme benevolence". Instead, I believe Paul would challenge us to see it simply as what we do as Christians. As the people of God, there will be times when WE may find ourselves in need (physically, spiritually, economically, emotionally, etc.), and help/blessing may come from places we'd least expect. Mutual love & reciprocation. That's the Body of Christ. And it all starts with God's amazing grace & abundant blessings. How can we not respond in turn?