Timely Fulfillment of Obligations (2 Corinthians 8:10–12)
Paul reminds the believers in Corinth that they had already signaled their intentions to participate in the collection for the churches in Judea during the previous year. They seem, however, to have become sidetracked. Perhaps lingering doubts about Paul’s ministry and the tensions that surfaced during his previous visit play a role here. In any case, their effort is flagging, and at the time of Paul’s writing they have not yet gathered all the contributions from individual members, as he had previously instructed them to do (1 Cor. 16:1–3).
Paul’s advice is straightforward. “Finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means” (2 Cor. 8:11). Paul’s advice is as relevant now as it was then, especially in our work. What we start we should finish. Obviously, there are many situations in which circumstances change or other priorities take precedence so that we have to adjust our commitments. This is why Paul adds, “according to your means.” But often, as in the Corinthians’ situation, the problem is merely one of dragging our feet. Paul reminds us of the need to carry through on our commitments. Other people are counting on us.
This advice may seem too simple to need mentioning in the word of God. Yet Christians underestimate how important this is as a matter of witness, in addition to productivity. If we do not fulfill ordinary commitments at work, how can our words or actions possibly convince people that our Lord will fulfill his promise of eternal life? Better to deliver a report, a part, or a raise on time than to deliver a lunchtime argument for the divinity of Christ.