I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians ... your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. (2 Corinthians 9:2)So he used the enthusiasm he had seen previously in Corinth to spur the Macedonians. Once the Macedonians' enthusiasm was stirred, he used that in turn to encourage Corinth further:
If any of the Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we -- not to say anything about you -- would be embarrassed to find you unprepared. (2 Corinthians 9:4)And this is not the only place where we see the New Testament considering not just acts of kindness and generosity, but how to encourage each other towards more of them:
Let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good actions. (Hebrews 10:24)Paul set up something of a "sister congregation" situation between Macedonia and Corinth when he compared them to each other, and set up a friendly rivalry between them. To keep Paul's idea alive, what kinds of competitions could a congregation have with a sister congregation? Here are a few ideas for competitions we could have amongst ourselves here and now:
- Who can collect the most jackets and coats for the winter coat drive for the poor?
- Which youth group can put in the most volunteer hours at Habitat for Humanity over Spring Break?
- Which congregation can collect the most toys for poor children for the Christmas toy drive?
- Who can put the most -- or most appetizing -- food into their food bank?
- Who can raise the most for the poor with a garage sale (Luke 12:33)?
It says "let us consider how we may spur one another on to love and good actions" ... It does take some considering. I'd be glad to hear other peoples' suggestions for how we can spur each other on.