The Grace Way of Giving, No. 6
We are studying 2 Corinthians 8 as we
pick up the exposition of these two major chapters concerning giving for Christians under
grace. We pick it you this morning at
verse 10. We’re going to look at
verses 10 through 15. In these verses, the apostle Paul
takes up directly the Corinthians, and their performance and their part
relative to this special fund which has been being gathered for the
relief of the saints in Jerusalem.
2 Corinthians 8:10-15
Verse 10 says, “And in this I
give my advice, for this is expedient for you who have begun before, not only to do but also to be
willing a year ago.” The Corinthians had a
desire, and “in this” refers to the subject of the context,
that is, their
giving to this Jerusalem relief fund.
The Jews in Jerusalem who were believers were under
persecution. They were under great
financial pressure and
they were in great need. Therefore Paul
was promoting among the Gentiles of the New Testament world a
offering for a relieving of the pressure and of the financial need upon
Paul has been talking about this
relative to the performance
of the Macedonian churches, and the example of grace giving that they
were. Now Paul says, “In this thing
I’ve been speaking about (that is, this special offering) I give
advice.” In verse 7 he had urged
these people giving commensurate with their high level of functioning
grace system of receiving spiritual things.
In verse 8 Paul has urged support of the fund
because of their genuine
love for God. In verse 9, Jesus Christ
on the cross is presented as the ultimate example of grace giving which
urging upon the Corinthians.
So he says, “Relative to this
whole subject of giving to
this particular fund, I have some advice to give you.” The word for “advice” is
“gnome” in the
Greek. This word has the connotation of
mind. It means a deliberate
opinion. It is in contrast to that word
up in verse 8, the word “commandment,” where Paul says,
“I’m not commanding you
to give.” Here he is saying,
you my mind. I’m giving you my
but it is in the form of a judgment.
It’s my opinion.” Again
is, “I am not giving you a command. You
can never command people when it comes to Christian giving.
Paul’s advice comes however from
a mind that knows what he’s
talking about. Paul isn’t getting up
saying, “Now, Corinthian Christians, I feel that you should do
this. I feel that because of this and this
this.” He’s not giving some
appeal relative to the disaster and the sufferings that he could
them of the saints in Jerusalem. But on
the basis of these doctrinal principles of grace giving, Paul who
grace, who understands doctrine says, “Now I have an opinion. I have a judgment to give you.”
be inclined to go to want to go to some Christian for advice. That can be very very dangerous.
It is well for you to remember that most
Christians are very hazardous sources of guidance.
You better make sure that the opinions that
these people give you are opinions that come from a mentality that is
with God’s viewpoint. There are
Christians who can lead you far astray from the mind of God.
So when the apostle Paul comes along
and says, “Now I’ve got
an opinion to give you,” he is giving this on the basis of a mind
oriented to God’s thinking. You be
careful about how wide a circle of Christians you trust; whose opinions
will cast the course of your life on; and, whose fellowship you will
such depths that they will be influential upon the things you do and
you enter into. Unless they really know
the Lord, and unless they are sharp in doctrine, they’ll hurt you
they’re operating on their emotions, and the apostle Paul is our
advice that’s worth listening to.
Paul says, “I give my advice. I’m giving you my mind.
As a spiritual leader I cannot command you to
give.” Any giving which is in
to demands, to threats, to intimidation, to humiliate, or to emotion is
grace giving, and it is not acceptable to God.
Only a free people can practice grace giving, and
you as a priest of God
are in a free priesthood. Now God gives
salvation in grace. No one demanded of
God that salvation, or could demand of Him. Because
he gives in grace, we give in
So Paul says, “I have some
advice to give you concerning
this matter of giving to God and your handling your money, for this is
expedient for you. “Expedient”
Greek word “sumphero.” This
“advantageous” or “profitable.”
profitable? “For this” refers
giving in this offering. This is what is
profitable for you.
“Who have begun before not only
to do but also to be
willing.” “Who have begun
this word “who” is the Greek word “hostis.”
This is a word that indicates “quality.”
“You people who are of such a quality.
You Corinthians who are of such a spiritual quality
that you have begun
a certain offering.” The Corinthians
were of a quality that they were ready to begin this offering to the
relief fund. “You have begun this
before,” that is, in the time past. He
refers to a prior beginning. In the
context here it means sometime previous to the time that he is writing.
Under the leadership of Titus
they began this
offering. It’s in the middle voice. This means that they were the instigators of
this offering themselves.
He said they were not only the
instigators sometime before
this offering of which he now speaks to them, but they were not only to
also to be willing. You might read that
and think that seems to be backward. He
should say to be willing and then to do.
But he says “do” first, and then to be
willing. Well, the word “do”
is the Greek word “poieo.” This
simply means “to do something” or “to
accomplish something.” This word is
the aorist tense which means a point in the past when they began to
offering. It’s active voice. That is, they are voluntarily choosing
to do this. It’s in the infinitive
which means it’s a purpose. These
purposed to do something. Furthermore,
it says that they were willing, and the word “willing” is
“thelo.” This word means
“to be willing to choose” or
“to desire” to do this. And
this is present
Now here’s something to notice: When it came to doing, the desire to do was
there. The year before they said,
want to give.” They made a decision
they started an offering. A year has
passed and they have not completed the offering. In
fact, it came to a dead standstill. But
something did not change. Their desire is
present tense which meant it
continued. They still had the desire to
give to the Lord though they were at this point not giving to the Lord. Their desire to give to the Jerusalem relief
fund had continued even though the doing had ceased.
So they were in the state of wanting to give
but not doing it. Something was causing
them to neglect this.
Here’s an interesting point for
you and me as believer
priests: Those of us who are oriented to
the Word of God and who understand grace giving are always going to be
present tense on our desire to give.
You’re going to want to give to the Lord even
when you’re broke. As a matter of
fact, you’ll be wanting to
give to the Lord even when you do not give for one reason or another. You may find in your heart a perfect desire
to give to the Lord, but you don’t give to Him because
you’re making too much
money. As you look over that wedge of
your expanding income and the chunk of proportionate expanding giving
it hurts you to think that you would give God so much more than once
when you were a mere tither. Or you
don’t come to church very often, and your pattern of giving is
such that when
you’re in church, you give. When
not, you don’t. Naturally, that
sense, doesn’t it? After all if you
don’t stay for the show you shouldn’t pay for it. When you come to the performance, you
pay. When you don’t come to the
performance, you don’t pay. What
be more reasonable?” What could be
reasonable? And there are Christians who
give on that basis. But even when
they’re not here for the performance, they’re perfectly
willing to give. They have this desire to
give, but the doing
is something else.
This is what was true of the
Corinthians. They had a perfect desire to
give to the
Lord, as most of us do. But the doing,
that they did not continually have.
There was the point of the breakdown.
For one reason or another, they were not coming
through with the money
that God had entrusted to them. Giving
expresses our love for the Lord, and a quality of love which is genuine
about it this continuous factor. This is
just like a right woman will always want to give herself to her right
whether she does or not, but the desire is always there.
So a believer who is in a right relationship
to the Lord through the Word and has that affectionate expression
will always have a desire to give though he may break down and fail in
So Paul says, concerning this special
offering, “I give my
advice (based on my doctrinal orientation), for it is profitable for
performance in this offering), who have begun before not only to do
made a determination), but you have continued to have the desire
doing has ceased) a year ago.”
In verse 11 the apostle gives his
advice: “Now therefore perform (the
doing of it), for
as there was a readiness to will so there will be a performance also
that which ye have.” “Now
a conclusion, and it uses the word “nuni” for the word
“now.” It is a strong word
connoting no more
delay. Paul said, “OK, the desire is
there. The point of decision was there
in the past. You have stopped. Now let’s get started again to the
performing, the doing of it, the completing of this offering.” The word “performing” here is
“completion.” It’s in
the aorist, a
thing that is completed and done with.
It is active, you decide to do it.
And very important, this is a command.
Now you might say, “Wait a
minute. This “epiteleo” is a
command? He is commanding him to perform
this? I thought he couldn’t demand
in grace.” That’s true.
He can’t. But
difference: This command is not wrong
because it is a command for them to complete what they had freely
chosen to do
previously. What Paul is saying,
Word of God has led you to the point of making a right decision. Now I, as your spiritual leader, command you
to get with what God has put upon your heart to perform.”
The Bible constantly does this. This is what is called in the book of James
doers of the Word and not only hearers.”
What James is saying is that “God has led you
to a position of
understanding of the Word, and now I command you to do it.” It is right to command people to do what God
has laid upon their hearts and directed them through the Word to do. That’s what Paul is doing here.
Salvation was planned in eternity
past, but it was completed
later in time. So you and I, for any
plan that God leads us into at some point of our lives, should in time
completed. It is wrong for you to start
at a certain point in your life, and maybe you have started at some
said, “Someplace down the line, I’m going to have enough
money to finance this
particular project in God’s vineyard.”
This is perfectly in order. That’s
where you made your decision. Then the
years have passed and you still have the desire to see this good thing
performed, but you have not done it.
Therein you are in error. If
has led you to a plan, He is also leading you in time to the
that plan. As God performs the
fulfillment of salvation, so we perform the fulfillment of very plan
leads us into.
For these Corinthians, the plan to
complete this offering,
which they were now to proceed to do. “Therefore
perform the doing of it, that as there was a readiness.” Now the word “readiness” in the
Greek is “prothumia.” This
means a deep desire. There was a deep
desire on their part to perform
this giving. This connotes a certain
eagerness. Just as there was once a
willingness and an eagerness to perform, now he says, “Let there
willingness to do it.”
In our English Bibles the words
“there was” are in italics,
meaning that they are not in the Greek.
This is because the apostle Paul is saying this in
the Greek in a very
strong and pungent way. What he is
saying actually is, “That as a readiness to will, so a
performance.” By dropping the verb ,
it makes it a stronger
impact that he wants them to get off and get moving from what they were
to do, to now what they are ready to be prepared to perform.
I don’t think we can fault many
Christians in the circle of
our acquaintance who express a willingness and a desire to do something
Lord. Sometimes I hear some harsh
remarks from some of you against somebody who is forever talking about
is forever expressing a desire to perform something for the Lord and
getting moving. The thing that we need
to do is to alert that person and to uphold him before the Lord, that
thing that God placed upon his heart should now be performed. The willingness should be converted into a
performance as well. That’s what
saying here in verse 11. Perform the
doing, “as there was a readiness so that there may be a
performance as well.” This is his
Now this performance needs to finish. That’s what the word
literally means, to finish. This is the
Greek word “epiteleo, and it simply means “to finish.” Get on with the thing that you have
begun. Some Christians have a desire to
give but they never get on to completing it.
That’s what he is calling upon these people to
He points out that their giving is to
be “out of that which
ye have.” Literally, it’s
“out of the
having.” These Corinthians are to
out of the resources that God in grace has provided to them. God is not asking you to make commitments to
His work out of what you do not currently possess.
This is what is wrong about a church doing
pledges. Sometimes churches do an
every-member campaign. A certain body of
men from the church will come around and knock on the door of every
member, and they will say, “Now we are drawing up our church
budget and we
would like to know how much you plan to give to underwrite this
budget.” They ask you to make a
pledge. Now what do you have to do? You have to sit down and say, “I’m
project myself out here for the year before me, and I’m going to
say that I’m
going to have that much and I’m going to give that much.” The Bible says you have no right to do that. God only asks you to give out of that
paycheck that you have in hand. God asks
you to give on the basis of what you have.
For somebody to come along and ask you to give and
to commit yourself to
giving on the basis of what you do not have is a sign that they are out
with the Word of God.
The question always arises,
“Does God have a perfect plan?” Does
God in all things have a perfect
plan? If God is perfect, His plans must
be perfect. Therefore, every plan that
God has, and God does have a plan, and it includes all the facets of
including yours and mine. This means
that God has a perfect plan for you and me in every respect that we are
to Him and to other people.
That means therefore that God has a
perfect marriage plan
for you, for example. That’s what we
call your particular man or your particular woman.
God has one particular person He intends for
you to marry. Now suppose that you come
along and you marry somebody else’s right man.
What have you done to the plan of God, which of
course God has taken
into His plan also? Your volition has
come along and you stepped over the bounds and you’ve taken
right man, and you’ve married that person.
Now you have disrupted the relationships that God
has that were the best
relationships in society. God then has a
secondary right man for that right woman.
But you have stepped out of line over what is
God’s best and primary
Now the question comes up also,
“Does God have a place where
I should go to church?” If God has a
perfect plan, does He have a right church and a right pastor for me? The answer is, “Yes.”
He has one church and one pastor and that’s
the only place you can go. A lot of
Christians have never really learned this. I
really have great concern within me when I
listen to some Christians talk about churches, like they were visiting
stores. “I go in this place and say,
me see your shoes.’ Yeah, I like
style. I don’t like that. Well, I’m going to go down the street
here.” They act you can just shop
around. Sometimes Christians even say,
“I’m going to
shop around for churches.
Well there are many questions that
will have to be answered
to decide which is your right church and which is your right pastor. By the way, if you’re not in that right
church and right pastor, you’re done for.
You have really done yourself in.
Usually people leave the right church and the right
pastor because God
is using that right church and right pastor to get across to them the
information that they need, and they resent it to high heaven. So in their reaction, they go someplace else
where they can escape it. Then they
become something. They get quite
involved and they become quite a star where they are.
But don’t ever be deceived that once
left the right church and the right pastor that God is in any
using them further. Now you may not like
that, but you start reading through the Word of God and you start
account the sovereignty and the plan of God and you will see that there
other position than that.
Now there are many questions to answer
who is the right one,
but I can tell you one way you can eliminate a lot of them: If you walk into a church and they are not
explaining the Word of God, if they are not giving people a chance to
doctrine, if they are not sheerly devoting themselves in a very rigid
teaching Bible doctrine service after service, as hateful as this is to
people, and explaining it in understandable terms, as hateful as those
are to many people, you can eliminate that church.
Now right away I know what you thought of. You said, “Well, my goodness. On that basis I can look across this city and
the vast majority of churches are automatically eliminated as not
being a church that God would lead a person to.”
You can look across the city and see how many
hundreds and hundreds of
people are sitting in churches that are not God’s right church
for them, or God’s
right pastor. You know that God is not
going to lead a person into a place where he is being given straw and
is being fed chaff and where his soul is being permitted to shrivel in
spiritual expression. You know that God
is not going to lead you into a place like that.
I’m sorry to say there are not
many churches in this city (a
few) where you can sit down and learn the Word of God and come out
spiritually. Now in your witnessing I
think you ought to alert people (other Christians) to that fact. I think you ought to alert people that God
has a right church and a right pastor, and that the first sign is that
church and that pastor are teaching out doctrine. This
is going to be hard for most people to
understand, but after a while you might be able to bring them around to
they know what you mean by “teaching,” and they will catch
on and they will be
horrified to look at themselves and see what they’ve been in.
Some of you are sitting here this
morning and you have
deep-seated feelings over what was once done to you when you sat in
where your emotions were played and where your mentality was ignored,
Word of God was never brought to you.
You now look back and you say, “I sat in a
church where they preached
the gospel all the time, and that’s all I heard.” I can tell by the way some of you talk that
you’re on the very verge of being bitter about it.
You have a problem with the root of
bitterness because of the damage and what you were robbed of, buy at
grateful that you’re not still sitting there.
You are the princes and princesses of God that have
been honored. Hundreds of God’s
royalty are sitting this
morning under chaff. You could do people
a great service by alerting them to that one sign of telling, “Is
this my right
church?” And it would be value in
alerting people that there is a right place.
Now Paul says, “What I want you
to give is out of what you
have.” If you hear a church that
you to give out of what you don’t have, you know that’s not
the place that God
wants for you. It probably is a signal
of a lot of other things that are misconstrued.
They are to give on what they have.
The principle here is a percentage of your income,
as 1 Corinthians 16:2
says, and it is up to you to determine that percentage.
You have to take into account your financial
responsibilities and meet them, but you also have to take into account
have those particular responsibilities.
Use your possessions to complete God’s plan
that He has for you and your
So this verse says, “Now
therefore also finish doing it in
order that just as a readiness to will, so a completion also of the
having.” Verse 12 says, “For
if there be first a
willing mind, it is accepted according to that which a man has, and not
according to what he doesn’t have.” “For
if” is a first class condition which means that these Corinthians
did have a
willing mind to give. “If there be
means “to be present.” If
present, and there is, with you Corinthians…”
The idea is to have something on hand.
What did they have? They
willing mind, a “prothumia,” as in verse 11, this readiness. They had a disposition to give.
He says, “If you have this, it is
accepted.” The Greek word is
“euprosdektos.” This simply
means “pleasing” or “acceptable.”
It refers to a mind that’s willing to
“According to that which a man
has and not according to that
which he doesn’t have.” He’s
if he has. He’s acceptable if he has
not. God says that if there is a willing
mind, and you see again that God says if your mind is right through my
and you have come to where you have a willing mind, you have a
disposition, then, he said, you’re accepted.
If you have a mind which is willing to give, and God
in His providence
has made you so poor that you can’t give, the very fact that you
have a mind
which is willing to give counts with God.
You receive as much blessing as the rich man who has
given the biggest
gift imaginable. It is according to what
you have, and not according to what you have not. Now
giving is acceptable. Whether we have the
money to give or not, it’s
the willingness that counts. So if
broke but you have a willing mind, then in effect you’ve given. This which is the giving from money to
doctrine in your soul. Giving without
doctrine in the soul is like physical love without soul love coming
So God measures our disposition to
give according to a percentage
of what we have. This is like the
mite. God looked at the rich men and
according to what they kept they were poor givers.
God looked at the widow and according to what
she kept out of what she had, she was a splendid giver.
A small gift, for that reason, may by
comparison with one’s positions a much greater gift, indicating a
willingness than somebody who gives a much larger gift.
Your willingness to give is not reflected by
the size of your gift. It is by the size
of your gift in comparison to what you have left over.
God says, “Let there be first a willingness
of mind, and then you are accepted whether you have anything or whether
Then in verses 13 through 15 Paul goes
to another principle,
the principle of equality. Here’s
clarification that Paul wants to make.
Verse 13 says, “I mean not that other men be
eased and you be burdened.” “I
mean not” is a strong expression in the
Greek. “I do not want you to
misunderstand me,” he is saying. “My
purpose in urging you to complete the Jerusalem relief fund:” literally, “not that there be relief and
burdened.” Again we have a sharp way
presenting this, with the verb omitted, simply the pungent pointed
statement. Paul says, “Other men
should not be eased.” This
“other” is the Greek word “allos.”
That means “another of the same kind.” So he’s referring to Christians. He said, “I don’t mean that other
other believers—the ones in Jerusalem here in this context,
should be eased,
should have relief, but you should be burdened.
The word “burdened” here is the word
“thlipsis” that we met before. “Thlipsis”
was a burdening by pressures, by
outward circumstances. He said,
asking that you should have the circumstances that pressure you as a
In other words, what Paul is saying
is, “I’m not calling
upon you people to give to such an extent that you make yourself
destitute. Just because you Corinthians
have money, God is not saying that you should give to such an extent
Jerusalem saints are made rich and you are made poor.
For the collection is not that there is to be
relief for others and pressure for you.”
While the Lord Jesus Christ came to make us rich, he
did not make
Himself spiritually destitute so that He was of no help to sinners. Paul is not recommending that rich Corinthians
should make themselves destitute in order that the impoverished
saints should be rich.
Sometimes people try to convey that
idea. People who have money are always
certain attack, that they should be impoverishing themselves, that they
be making themselves poor while others are being made rich. That isn’t what the Bible means at all. Paul makes it very clear that I do not mean
that others should be eased and relieved and you should be burdened. But, he says, “… by an
equality,” in verse
14, “that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for
their want, that
their abundant may be also a supply for your want, that there may be
Now what does he mean by
“equality?” The rule in
dealing with one’s possessions is
not to try to create equality in the amount of property that each
possesses, but equal relief from the burden of want.
What he is saying here is, “I want you to be
careful to create the condition that there is no Christian among you
carries a burden of want—not that you make everybody equal in his
possessions.” For this reason he
says, “At this time of
your abundance, you Corinthians are well off.
The Jerusalem Christians are strapped with poverty. That’s their want.”
So he says, “Here’s the nature of an
exchange: You take care of them now
because the time may come when you may be in reversed roles, that you
strapped with poverty under the pressures of the Roman government as
Macedonian churches were, and that the Jerusalem saints will be in a
to share out of what they have to take care of your needs so that you
burdened with want. This may also imply
of course that the Jerusalem Christians were the source of spiritual
to them, and to sustain that church was very important.
This is another point of being in your
right church. Do you realize what it means
if God says this
is your right church and you take your finances and put it someplace
else? That’s a travesty. That’s spiritual adultery.
God judges severely for that. This
is taking your loyalty and your finances
and your support from the place that God says, “This is the place
the job. This is the place that I want
you to sustain,” and you take it and give it to someplace else? That is a travesty. That’s
grotesque. This is exactly what happens
when we ignore
the fact that God has placed us in a particular right place. So there may be implied here to these
Corinthians, “Your financial support of the Jerusalem ministry is
strategic, for out of it flow our basic spiritual well-being, the basic
spiritual blessings that have been ours.
So we’re going to equalize with our wealth
their need, and they in turn
our spiritual blessing.”
So each of these has an abundance. Each of these has a want.
He says, “But by an equality that now at this
time your abundance for their want, their abundance also for your want,
there may be equality.” The goal of
recommendation is that there come an equal freedom from want.
This is not a consideration for
Christian communism. I think we should
understand very clearly
that the Bible does not promote communal concepts.
The Bible says that what you have is your own
to do with as you choose. Acts
5:4 says, “While it remained (concerning
the property which Ananias and Sapphira sold) was it not thine own, and
it was sold was it not in thine own power?”
The Bible always recognizes the law of private
property. Guidance for our voluntary use
of what we
possess comes to us through the Word and through the filling of the
Now all who are in want are to be
taken care of. This is a work of mercy
whether a person is a
Christian or not, the Bible says we are to be concerned for people who
material want. Nevertheless, the bible
also says that the people who get your first claim are the Christians. Galatians 6:10 says, “As we have
opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are
household of faith. For this reason I
think it is legitimate for you as a Christian, who have many demands
giving by social agencies, for you to stop and say to yourselves,
“Now just a
minute. There is this vast world of
unbelievers out here. They have
money. What will they use their money
for? For the sustaining of God’s
advance spiritual cause? Never. But they will use it for social areas of
need. They will use it for human good
instigation. Therefore I think it is
well for you as believers to say, “We let the world support and
areas that the world promotes, out of which the world can draw money,
and we as
believers put our money into the work of the Lord that the unbeliever
put his money into.
Now this is good for the unbeliever
because the Bible says
that you are the salt of the earth. This
nation is preserved as long as there are a maximum number of believers
oriented to God’s ways and God’s morality.
When that comes to an end, this nation is through,
and the community
chest and everything else goes down the line.
Paul’s recommendation is to take care of
believers above anybody else
and to take care of them in a way that provides for lasting eternal
However, the Word of God also makes it
clear that if you
happen to be a person who is in need, and a poor person, you are not to
and lean upon the church members who are well off to carry you through.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 says,
“For even when we
were with you, this we commanded you:
that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some that walk
among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them are as such we command and exhort by
our Lord Jesus Christ that with quietness they work and eat their own
bread.” The United States of America
could learn an awful
lot from these principles of doctrine relative to the handling of
things. If you’re poor, don’t
the Christians in your assembly and decide you’re going to slide
serve the Lord and let others provide for you, but earn your own bread
it in the quietness of what God has provided.
These biblical principles would prevent both
idleness and want.
So Paul says, “By an equating at
the present time, your
abundance to their lack, that also their abundance may be come to your
order that there may become an equality.”
The last verse then gives us an
illustration of this
equality that Paul is trying to speak of so no believer is in want: “As it is written, he that had gathered
had nothing over. He that had gathered
little had no lack.” This is a quote
from Exodus 16:18. “As it is
to the Scriptures of the Old Testament which stand written, and the
this revelation. “Had gathered
literally “the one much” is the idea.
They had gathered this manna.
Every morning they went out and gathered it. Some gathered much. But
they found that when they gathered much
they had nothing left over. It is said
with the strongest Greek negative, this word “ouk.” That’s the strongest negative and it
that they didn’t have anything left over, with never an exception. “He that had gathered much had nothing
over.” On the other hand, the one
who had gathered
little discovered that he had no lack.
He still have plenty for his needs.
What is God telling us?
It’s telling us that God said,
“I’m going to supply for you Jews an omer
measure of manna for everybody in the camp.
All you have to do is go out and gather it. But the book of Exodus tells it that they
were to go out and gather it according to their eating.
Their eating is their capacity.
God said, “Here is the eating.
Go out and gather according to your capacity.” So every morning they would hustle out of
their tent. The manna would come down
every day except on the Sabbath day (Exodus 16:4-5, 22-27). They couldn’t keep it because if they
over to the next day it became odorous and wormy. On
Friday they had to gather double to cover
the Sabbath and that didn’t spoil.
This is an illustration of doctrine. Our manna is the Word of God and we have to
gather it daily for our spiritual lives.
The Lord has supplied us this manna in His Word, the
means for us to
learn it, the teachers for us to be instructed with, and everything
necessary with a human living and God the Holy Spirit in order to
we need. As we look into the book of
Exodus we find that those who gathered much manna had no more than
those who gathered
little because each gathered according to his eating; that is, his
capacity. Under the law of equality, God
always matches your capacity. The person
who seems to have greater spiritual blessings, greater joys, greater
and greater victories in his life is the Christian who has greater
capacity. He is the believer who’s
taking in doctrine. He’s the reader
Word. He’s the one who’s
putting together and studying, and his capacity is developing.
Every one of us as believers has an
equal position in
Christ. We are all capable of the full
spiritual experiences but some of us are very puny, and some of us have
great capacity. Yet God wants to give us
all fantastic spiritual blessings, and yet many of us simply lack the
for life. So we stink and we are
wormy. The manna had to be used in the
right way (Exodus 16:19-20). If you
hoarded it overnight, it spoiled. And
doctrine has to be used in the right way if it’s to be beneficial. You cannot sustain your physical life on past
food, and you cannot sustain your spiritual life on past food. Some of us have not learned that.
Some of us have not learned that the
spirituality maturity structure of our souls can come to a magnificent
development, and yet like any building it deteriorates.
We begin to retrogress in our spiritual
lives. The common word for that is
back-sliding. That doesn’t say very
much, but what happens is we start going backwards because we stop
Every morning the manna melted under
the sun (Exodus 16:21),
and only doctrine which is absorbed will remain for our use. The manna that was in the tent was there for
eating. The character who said, “Oh,
going to sleep in late this morning and I’ll collect my manna a
little later.” He hopped out of
bread all hungry and ready
for breakfast and went out and the manna was gone because as soon as
came up it melted. When you get under
the pressures of life, and you and I get under the prosperities of
when we need the manna of doctrine. If
you don’t have it then, my dear friend, you’re not going to
get it. It’s too late for you to run
This is why people come to pastors and
say, “I want
counseling.” What do they mean? “I want you to make some decisions for
because I haven’t informed myself on the Word so I don’t
know what to do here.” They’re
trying to get advice from you on the
basis of doctrine that they lack, instead of having prepared themselves
the Word. Manna which is un-gathered is
in the Bible as doctrine and it’s of no use to us whatsoever. It was interesting that the manna tasted good
to some. Exodus 16:31 says that to some
it was like honey, but Numbers 21:5 says that some of them loathed it.
Did you ever notice that about
doctrine? Some people love it. Some people loathed it. But
you don’t know that. You have to be
in my position to find how
people loathe doctrine—to know what abuse you can take for the
fact that you’re
presenting the Word better than you ever presented it before, and with
insights than ever before, and it has a better cutting edge than ever
before. Like Paul says, the closer we
get to that reality the more you despise the agents that are bringing
it. It’s an old story.
Manna was God’s grace provision
(Exodus 16:2-4). People complained that
they didn’t have
anything to eat so God provided them with it.
He kept it coming on the basis of His character. The rejection of manna resulted in divine
discipline (Numbers 21:5-6). A Christian
who rejects the Word of God falls from grace (Galatians 5:4). He is failing in grace (Hebrews 12:15).
Dr. John E. Danish, 1971
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