Whereof ye had notice before - Instead of προκατηγγελμενην, spoken of before, BCDEFG, several others, with the Coptic, Vulgate, Itala, and several of the fathers, have προεπηγγελμενην, what was promised before. The sense is not very different; probably the latter reading was intended to explain the former. See the margin.
Bounty, and not as of covetousness - Had they been backward, strangers might have attributed this to a covetous principle; as it would appear that they were loth to give up their money, and that they parted with it only when they could not for shame keep it any longer. This is the property of a covetous heart; whereas readiness to give is the characteristic of a liberal mind. This makes a sufficiently plain sense; and we need not look, as some have done, for any new sense of πλεονεξια, covetousness, as if it were here to be understood as implying a small gift.
Therefore I thought it necessary - In order to secure the collection, and to avoid all unpleasant feeling on all hands.
That they would go before unto you - Before I should come.
And make up beforehand your bounty - Prepare it before I come. The word “bounty” is in the margin, rendered “blessing.” The Greek ( εὐλογία eulogia) means properly commendation, eulogy. Then it means blessing, praise applied to God. Then that which blesses - a gift, donation, favor, bounty - whether of God to human beings, or of one man to another. Here it refers to their contribution as that which would be adapted to confer a blessing on others, or suited to produce happiness. That the same might be ready as a matter of bounty - That it may truly appear as a liberal and voluntary offering; as an act of generosity and not as wrung or extorted from you. That it may be truly a blessing - a thank-offering to God and adapted to do good to people. And not as of covetousness - “And not like a sort of extortion, wrung from you by mere dint of importunity” - Doddridge. The word used here ( πλεονεξία pleonexia) means usually covetousness, greediness of gain, which leads a person to defraud others. The idea here is, that Paul would have them give this as an act of bounty, or liberality on their part, and not as an act of covetousness on his part, not as extorted by him from them.
That the same might be ready as a matter of bounty - That it may truly appear as a liberal and voluntary offering; as an act of generosity and not as wrung or extorted from you. That it may be truly a blessing - a thank-offering to God and adapted to do good to people.
And not as of covetousness - “And not like a sort of extortion, wrung from you by mere dint of importunity” - Doddridge. The word used here ( πλεονεξία pleonexia) means usually covetousness, greediness of gain, which leads a person to defraud others. The idea here is, that Paul would have them give this as an act of bounty, or liberality on their part, and not as an act of covetousness on his part, not as extorted by him from them.
Soon Christ will reward every man according to his works. Soon your money will pass out of your hands for another to handle. It will then not be the test of your stewardship. Now it is yours, by which the Lord desires to try you. While you are alive, be your own almoner and receive the blessings that will come to you in a faithful discharge of duty. Give back to God that which is His own. This is God's way. He always lends His talents to His stewards, to be used to spread the knowledge of the truth. This work cannot be done without the funds that are in the hands of God's servants. RY 98.1
We now invite you to dispose of your property. This the Lord calls upon you to do. We have to build meetinghouses and hospitals for our sick. We want means to advance the work of God in this new world. Be liberal, that God may advance His cause.—Letter 53, 1899. RY 98.2Read in context »
Paul presents his pattern, his ideal. Christ had given Himself to a life of poverty that they might become rich in heavenly treasure. He would refresh their memories in regard to the sacrifice made in their behalf. Christ was commander in the heavenly courts, yet He took the lowest place in this world. He was rich, yet for our sakes, He became poor. It was not spiritual riches that He left behind; He was always abounding in the gifts of the Spirit. But He was of poor parentage. The world never saw its Lord wealthy (Manuscript 98, 1899). 6BC 1104.1
Rich in Attainments—Christ, the Majesty of heaven, became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. Not rich merely in endowments, but rich in attainments. 6BC 1104.2
These are the riches that Christ earnestly longs that His followers shall possess. As the true seeker after the truth reads the Word, and opens his mind to receive the Word, he longs after truth with his whole heart. The love, the pity, the tenderness, the courtesy, the Christian politeness, which will be the elements in the heavenly mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him, take possession of his soul. His purpose is steadfast. He is determined to stand on the side of righteousness. Truth has found its way into the heart, and is planted there by the Holy Spirit, who is the truth. When truth takes hold of the heart, the man gives sure evidence of this by becoming a steward of the grace of Christ (Manuscript 7, 1898). 6BC 1104.3Read in context »
Assisting With Food and Clothing—The poor, our family have had to assist in food and clothing, and to help the widow and fatherless by money gifts as well as food and clothing. This is part of our work as Christians which cannot be neglected. Christ said, “The poor always ye have with you,” and in this part of the Lord's vineyard that is literally true. Doing good in all its forms is enjoined upon the Lord's missionaries by the Holy Scriptures. Read 2 Corinthians 9. You see, not only is our work to preach, but as we see suffering humanity in the world, we are to help them in their temporal necessities. Thus we will be instruments in the hands of God.... WM 332.1
Those who have given themselves to the Lord will yoke up with Christ and will work in Christ's lines, ever looking to Jesus for wisdom and correct judgment as to how to move. Many bring their zeal and natural temperaments into their benevolence; they move by impulse: they give to those to whom they take a notion to give; and others who are every bit as worthy, they, like the priest and Levite, look upon them but do not feel any particular interest, and pass by on the other side, which is the side of indifference and neglect. Doing good in all its forms is enjoined in the Holy Scriptures, but prudence and careful consideration are needed to know how to show mercy and help the really needy. The way that is profitable to both parties is to help them to help themselves; open ways before them in the place of giving them money; find some work for them to do; manifest discretion; and be sure we make such use of means as will do the most good for the Lord's poor in the present and future.—Letter 31b, 1895. WM 332.2
Work Supplied to Needy Families—There were many here who were poor and in need. Men who were trying to serve the Lord and keep His commandments could not provide food for their families, and they begged us to give them something to do. We employed them, and they ate at our table. We gave them suitable wages until their families were fed and comfortably clothed. Then we let them go to find work somewhere else. Some of them we had to provide with a suit of Willie's clothes, to make them fit for Sabbath meetings.—Letter 33, 1897. WM 332.3Read in context »