From the Pastor’s heart
2Co 8:15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
Performance, preparation and advance planning in the natural and in the spiritual should come from what you have received or gathered. The word ‘gathered’ can have several meanings in the English language. It can mean, ‘collected’, ‘assembled’, ‘met together’ etc.
Apostle Paul uses the supernatural feeding of the Jews when they were given manna from heaven in the wilderness by God to teach us a lesson we need to learn. The actual discipline of daily gathering of manna in the wilderness by the Jews gives us an insight into and an understanding of God’s wisdom concerning dispersion and equality of gathering or receiving. Some gathered much and others less or not as much only to find out that it amounted to the same.
Similarly, what happens corporately and individually to us in Church when we gather together can differ visibly in what we receive in church but in the end we each get an equal dispersion of the blessings. One can receive much and another not as much but the result is the same. How can we equate this in terms of receiving? The truth is, each one of us attend Church with a need and the need is met irrespective of what happens to another in what or how much they received at the same gathering. One may have got a revelation, another a prophecy, another a psalm, another a word of encouragement another a healing and so on. Yet, each one receives exactly what they need by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is only when you compare yourself with what you may see another receive that you will feel discouraged in that you feel you have not received enough. On the other hand you may feel exalted above another by what you may have received because you may have felt you received more than others. Both attitudes are deceivers and so one must be careful not to fall into the same trap that the Jews fell into. Exo 16:17And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. Exo 16:18And 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. Exo 16:19And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning. Exo 16:20 Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses; but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank: and Moses was wroth with them. Exo 16:21And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.
When they gathered too much manna the left over was eaten by worms. Added to this problem, if they did not collect it at the appropriate time, the sun melted the manna. So, a discipline was needed to be on time. Likewise, when we exalt ourselves or get discouraged by what we think we received in Church or are not open to God at the appropriate time, we too can be affected by evil spiritual forces (worms), natural forces (sun or heat of our circumstances in life) and worst of all receive harsh lessons from God that we will not like. Rebuke and chastening is not pleasant for anyone of us. We do not need to put ourselves in a position to go through the same things that the Jews did. We must avoid an attitude that compares with what another receives from God. We must realise that when we compare or are greedy or proud because of what we have gathered or received above others we will get into trouble. When we receive less or what seems less we must understand that the problem of another who had received more might have been greater than ours and so needed a greater ministry. I am certain, we would not want their greater problem even as we may have desired their greater ministry. Everyone receives according to their need. Some people are needier than others and so they gather more. Yet, nothing is left over. God supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.; not our excesses or lusts.
You will also realise from this passage that every Jew only received manna, nothing else. Nobody was treated in a special way nor did they get something different from another irrespective of their status or leadership amongst them. This is the way God distributes equally to all. The idea of the having different members of the body (Church) is that, each one compliments the other; smaller or greater, it does not matter. When we realise this, then our dispersion (giving out) from what we have received will also be equal. The natural body depends on each of its members no matter what position it has or how big or small it may be. Without the hand, the body is unequally proportioned. Furthermore, one can only give what one has received themselves. Act 3:6Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. It is in this context of giving that Apostle Paul speaks of performance, preparation and advance planning.
2Co 8:11Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
Once again Apostle Paul speaks of financial giving in the same context of gathering. The Corinthian church was exhorted to give as a corporate body. They were encouraged not just to be willing to give but actually give (performance). In a spiritual sense, performance is a great act of faith. Luk 1:45And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. Here, we see Mary, the mother of Jesus accepting a prophetic word that came to her from God through an angel. She did not just believe the word, she performed it by accepting the impregnation of the Word (Jesus) into her womb and then carrying the baby for 9 months. Then she birthed what she believed and mankind was saved. Wow! How is that for performance? Likewise, we too must be first, ready to receive and then perform what we have believed out of what we have received and do what the Holy Spirit tells us as He is the messenger of God sent to us. Many are ready to do great things for God but few actually do anything for God. As a result, they gather much knowledge (manna) over the years that the worms (world influences) eat up and then face situations and difficulties in life that never seem to go away and finally end up never understanding God or His ways. They are ever learning but never coming to the freedom of the truth.
2Co 9:4 Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
Apostle Paul uses the same teaching to explain what preparation is about. If preparation is the key to success, then being un-prepared is the key to failure. No one who is unprepared will be ready for the return of the Lord or face death to see the Lord. The five foolish virgins were a classic example of being unprepared. They had an anointing but were still unprepared for the long journey ahead. Many Christians are quick starters but bad finishers. They sprint well but cannot do the marathon. Not everything in life is a sprint or a marathon. Life is equally distributed and so must be equally lived (gathered). Some get greedy for life and what it has to offer and others are lazy about life and so neither succeed. If the Lord tarries, we must still be prepared to perform and do what is necessary. Don’t be lazy. Get what has to be got and do what has to be done. Mat_6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient (adequate, ample) unto the day is the evil thereof. In other words, do only what is needed for the day and God will take care of the rest; this is preparation. When you prepare, you must prepare for the task at hand. Do not let imaginations build you up to do more or less than is necessary.
2Co 9:2 For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
There is nothing quite like forward planning. God has already prepared everything. He knows the end from the beginning. He is a forward planner. One must emulate God through this concept of forward planning in everything. After that, allow the Holy Spirit to have His way with us and even as change happens, we will realise that what we had planned was actually according to His will. I often would draw a chart of my ministry trips for a whole year in advance not knowing how it would eventuate. Yet, at the end of the year, I would visit my chart and everything that I had planned, the Holy Spirit accomplished and even provided for all my expenses. Many do not have because they do not forward plan in areas of their lives that are critical to well being, especially finances. Take time to sit with the Holy Spirit and plan your lives. He knows ‘The Way’ (Jesus).
Lots of love