Here is the next post on social distinctions.
Have you ever noticed when you learn a new truth from God’s Word, that shortly afterward, there is some sort of test to see if you are going to put it into practice in your life? It seems that the LORD doesn’t just want us to learn our theology, he wants us to do something about it as well. I’ll give the lesson first, just as I taught it about two years ago. The next post (LORD willing) will be the real deal of how the LORD moved in such a way as to test me to see if I really learned this lesson, or if I was just blowing steam as I taught it to others.
The Old Testament foundation: Exodus 16
This gives us the story of how God rained the bread of heaven down upon the children of Israel to feed them. I would like to point out three verses from this chapter to show the interpersonal relationship God had with each Israelite at this time.
16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents. 17 And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. 18 And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating.
The command is for each person to go and get one omer of this manna stuff. The children of Israel went out and gathered, some gathering a whole bunch, some gathering only a little. But when the Israelites got together and measured it out for each person, there was exactly enough for each individual person in the camp to receive precisely one omer. The picture we receive of God is amazing. Here He was up in heaven, counting the exact number of Israelites, knowing their names, and then providing an equal amount for each of them to have just enough food for one day. Then the next day, He would do it again, and again, and again.
God never intended for any one Israelite to hog more manna than they were supposed to have. If they tried to hoard it, the manna would breed worms and stink. God wanted the Israelites to get together and divide out an equal amount for each of them. Those who would go out and gather a whole bunch, after measuring it out, would have nothing over. Those who would gather only a little, would have no lack. He that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack. There was enough manna for everyone, they just had to get together and share.
New Testament application: II Corinthians 8-9
Here we have the story of how Paul was taking up a collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem from the Macedonian and Achaian churches. For additional insight into this, read Acts 24:17, Romans 15:25-32, and I Corinthians 16:1-4. In giving the reasons why these Corinthian believers should give, Paul cites the OT passage we just studied.
12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
Paul sets forth the principle that they should not go without in order to give to this ministry. But it is obvious that these Corinthians believers have more than the Jerusalem believers. The Apostle Paul states that there should be an equality. Your abundance will supply for their want. They don’t have enough. You have more than enough. You should give that there will be an equality within the body of Christ.
Then Paul cites this OT passage. The picture is the same. In the OT we had a God above the children of Israel, raining down the exact total amount of blessings needed to take care of them all. Some tents would have more manna placed near them, other tents would have not quite as much. But after they get together and measure it all out, there is enough for everyone. In the NT, we have God above the church, raining down the exact total amount of blessings needed to take care of us all. Some people will have two blessings given to them. Others will have none. But when all the believers get together and share, there is enough to take care of us all.
God does not want believers to hoard the blessings He is raining down on us. You have more that you might be a blessing to others. Or you have less that you might see the body of Christ work to bless you. God has not changed. He is raining blessings down on the earth. He puts more blessings in front of some, and less in front of others. He wants the body of Christ to come together. He created us as relational beings. Yet we see fleshly attitudes about our physical possessions within the church. Many times, those who have more blessings think these blessings are all theirs to do with whatever they want, not realizing that God has designed their abundance for those who are in need. Those who have less blessings are many times too proud to allow another person to be a blessing to them and wanting the blessing to be plopped directly in front of them, not realizing that God does want to bless them, but through another member of His body.
Out of all the schisms in the church, this one (I believe) is the hugest: the division between the haves and the have-nots. It’s so subtle, yet so real. And yet a fellowship between these two categories is exactly what God intended. Remember these phrases from II Corinthians 9 are really about being a blessing to other believers: He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, God loveth a cheerful giver, and God is able to make all grace abound toward you.
Do you have an abundance in your home? Are you blessing another believer with your abundance?
Do you have a lack in your home? Are you allowing another believer to be a blessing to you?
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman