Surplus and Needs

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2 Corinthians 8:14 NLT, “Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.”
Philippians 4:10-17 NLT, “How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.”
These excerpts from Paul’s letters to the churches identify that sometimes we will have a surplus in life and sometimes we will be faced with need. In Philippians, Paul himself says that over time he had learned to live with little when necessary. A vivid description of meager periods in Paul’s life is portrayed in his description of apostleship in 1 Corinthians 4:11. Here he said, “even now we go hungry.” The very next verse then tells us that he was working hard during this time. His lack was not due to unemployment. You realize you can be working your hardest and wanting everything to go well financially and still hit a bump in the road? Our God is a God of provision, there is no argument there. He makes water to flow from the rock. He makes bread appear from heaven. Still in life we find ourselves in spaces and times where we may not have what we need. Would you look at the apostle Paul and say that because he didn’t have what he needed in a situation that something was wrong with him? Paul, in the first verse mentioned above from 2 Corinthians 8:14, brings a solution to the table.
We get the chance to see through Paul’s eyes for a moment, seeing how he brought resolution to the church and discerned some of these tougher issues. Paul says that when we do have surplus, we should look to help those in need in our spiritual family. The reason he says this is because he claims that one day the roles may switch, and we will be the ones in need. These two life situations are found in different people in the church at different times. Just because we are doing well financially now, does not mean that we will always be in that position. For others, they may be facing a hard time right now. We shouldn’t be afraid to allow someone to help us. If you are doing exceptionally well at this time, look for an opportunity to take care of your brothers and sisters. If we have surplus or need, either way, it is Christ who strengthens us, infusing our being with power. Regardless of what our current financial situation in life, Jesus Christ is still the Lord right now and in the world to come (Ephesians 1:21). The power of Christ guides our decision-making process, challenging us to love and to give. Let us continue to praise God for His wonderful Son. Let’s be filled with joy for the realities we hold in Christ because they truly far exceed anything we may have in this world.