Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of II Corinthians Chapter 8
Metaphysically Interpreting II Corinthians 8:1-15
8:1Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God which hath been given in the churches of Macedonia; 8:2how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 8:3For according to their power, I bear witness, yea and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, 8:4beseeching us with much entreaty in regard of this grace and the fellowship in the ministering to the saints: 8:5and this, not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God. 8:6Insomuch that we exhorted Titus, that as he made a beginning before, so he would also complete in you this grace also. 8:7But as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all earnestness, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
8:8I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love. 8:9For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich. 8:10And herein I give my judgment: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to make a beginning a year ago, not only to do, but also to will. 8:11But now complete the doing also; that as there was the readiness to will, so there may be the completion also out of your ability. 8:12For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according as a man hath, not according as he hath not. 8:13For I say not this that others may be eased and ye distressed;8:14but by equality: your abundance being a supply at this present time for their want, that their abundance also may become a supply for your want; that there may be equality: 8:15as it is written,
He that gathered much had nothing over;
and he that gathered little had no lack.
Sunday, May 9, 1915: II Cor. 8:1-15
Most people receive with a grain of salt the Scripture quoted, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). They think it part of the “stock in trade” of the minister's appeal for the Foreign Missionary Society or for money to clear up the church debt. But if the pleasure of receiving and giving could be compared for a lifetime, it would undoubtedly be found that the joy would be on the giving side by a very large percent. Then to get the most pleasure out of life one should practice giving. Few people give systematically; they give when they are asked, and often an undercurrent of regret goes with the gift; they are not cheerful givers.
To give with an ungracious feeling is detrimental to both the giver and receiver. No one likes to receive from those who regret their gifts, and the one who gives in that spirit thwarts the law that would increase his gift, if it carried the cheerful thought with it. Men sometimes give with the object of getting back another way more than their gift, but this does not apply to religious donations. When one gives to the cause of Christ, he expects no financial return. But here there is often missing of the mark. Religious giving is the most profitable of all giving, if one knows the law, which is blessing. If you bless what you give, it is increased in your thought atmosphere, and your words create for it a multiplying energy that goes on developing after its kind, until the original impetus is exhausted.
But, if one first gives himself to the Lord, as did these liberal Gentiles, according to Paul, there will be no cessation of the original impetus in righteous giving, because it is Spirit. When one gives in the abounding faith of God’s abundance, a certain spiritual and financial prosperity sets in and the whole man receives the increase. It has been observed that, when a church organization gets the enthusiasm of giving for religious purposes, that more prosperity comes to the individual members.
In this lesson Paul talks a great deal about “abundance” and “riches” These are good words to get into the mind, if you want prosperity. If you keep your mind charged with words of this character, you will never lack and your gifts will carry increase wherever they go. If there be first a willing mind, or according to the R.V., “if the readiness is there.” What God beholds is the mind and, if that is right, the whole man and all his acts are right. The gift is acceptable “according to that a man hath.” The acceptability of all our offerings depends not on the amount given, but the proportion which it bears to our means. The widow's mite was a very great gift, because it was her all. If a millionaire should give one hundred thousand dollars to a good cause, it would be heralded as a princely donation, but in fact it is no more worthy of commendation than the gift of one hundred dollars by the man whose whole possessions is a thousand. The proportion is the same and in the spirit of things the man who gives his love with his gift gives far more than the one who sends cold dollars.
Be sure and put the good feeling into your gift. Everything that you send forth, with this soul-substance as its animating principle, always comes back multiplied. Keep the grudging feeling out of your gifts, because it will also come back to you. “As a man soweth so shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). This applies to everything we do, because we put into every act the seed thought that brings a crop after its own character.
Sunday, October 21, 1928: II Cor. 8:1-9
In today’s lesson Paul speaks of the grace of God, which had been poured out on the churches of Macedonia. What is the grace of God? The grace of God is the power of God manifesting through man in love instead of in personal dominance.
What great truth is Paul endeavoring to impress upon his listeners? Paul is endeavoring to impress upon his listeners that there is a definite spiritual law back of giving to the Lord's work. Through the operation of this law the Macedonians perceived with joy that their poverty had turned into riches.
Explain the words, “But first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.” This Scripture passage reveals that the first step in giving or tithing to the Lord is to dedicate oneself in Spirit of the ministry of the Gospel, and to resolve to carry forward the good work, not only to give a tithe of one's time to prayer and meditation and the reading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but to make a complete consecration of oneself to the Lord’s work.
Man sometimes gives with the expectation of getting back in another way more than he gives. Does this apply to religious gifts? If a person knows the law, he knows that he must first give himself to the Lord. Then by giving of his substance with abounding faith in God’s abundance, he is conscious of receiving a blessing. The blessing is magnified and increased in the thought atmosphere of his mind, and he receives hot only spiritually, but also in seemingly material ways, “God . . . giveth the increase.”
In this lesson Paul writes much of abundance and riches. Have these words a special import in metaphysical unfoldment? Yes. If one desires prosperity, the words, “riches,” “opulence,” and “abundance,” are good words to hold in one's mind. He who keeps his mind charged with the thoughts that opulence and abundance are flowing to him from Divine Mind will never lack any good thing; and his gifts will carry increase wherever they go.
July 19, 1936: II Cor. 8:1-9
Could good will and mutual aid be made to work to better advantage by man? By being put to work on the causes that underlie poverty, strife, materiality and other negative influences that retard man’s spiritual progress, good will and the impulse to help others could bring home to man the worth of constructive thinking, and lead him to heal these conditions in the civilization of the race.
What does the tither gain by giving a certain portion of his income to the furtherance of Truth? When the tither gives himself with his gift, he realizes more deeply the meaning of universal life, and as he enters into broader sympathy with others he senses his oneness with it.
How do we give ourselves with our gifts? We give ourselves in the truest sense by sending out our constructive thought to those we seek to help, knowing for them that they are one with the universal substance, life, and wisdom.
What is the best gift we can give? Good will, because it is most potent to bring the kingdom of heaven into manifestation here and now.
How can we give our faith to the world? We give our faith to the world by putting it into our daily thought and work, and making all that we do expressive of our deepest convictions.
December 14, 1941: II Cor. 8:1-9
The name Macedonia means “adoration,” “burning.” The church in Macedonia, although in “deep poverty,” gave liberally for the relief of other Christians. What is the metaphysical meaning of this? Macedonia represents zeal and enthusiasm, both of which are necessary before one can give according to the divine law of increase. Zeal and enthusiasm move one to give oneself first to the cause that enlists one’s love and interest. When this is done, the law of increase operates to make possible the giving of one’s substance, through the giving of one’s creative effort.
How can those who really wish to do so give “beyond their power”? By putting themselves in harmony with spiritual law they realize substance and have more to give than they had while in personal consciousness. In the latter state such liberality would be beyond their power.
Of what is giving typical? Of the universal life consciousness. He who recognizes all life as one does not fear to give, for he knows that he cannot be impoverished by sharing what he has.
Does he who gives to others in the Spirit of the Christ realize an immediate reward? Yes, “grace and . . . fellowship” reward him immediately. He whose consciousness of good expands because of his sharing his substance with others realizes within himself a measure of good will and favor that partakes of the divine. He need not wait for a reward in future.
Is this good will the same as the will of God, through which we are told the disciples of Macedonia “gave their own selves to the Lord”? No. The will of God is good will plus intelligently directed aim or purpose. Man's good will is sometimes without such aim or purpose, and it then fails to accomplish the good that it otherwise would.
Is it possible to possess spiritual riches of other kinds and yet lack a liberal mind and heart? One may have faith, the power of self-expression (utterance), knowledge, sincerity (all earnestness), and love, and yet lack consciousness of the universality of all life. It is the universal that makes one share one's substance gladly with others.
On what law does the statement rest “that, though he [Jesus Christ] was rich, yet for your sakes be became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich”? On the law of self-sacrifice. By giving up the claims of the personal self and becoming “poor” Jesus realized the greater self of the Christ and became rich in spiritual power. As those who follow Him put aside personality, they realize the same power that He commanded and share the same riches.
December 3, 1950: II Cor. 8:3-5
What giving must precede the liberal giving of our substance? The giving of ourselves “to the Lord” or to the ideal of Truth. This includes denial of error, affirmation of Truth and the concentrating of the thought on the subject of our choice.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-01-2013