10 And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; 11 but now you also must complete the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to desire it, so there also may be a completion out of what you have. 12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
And in this I give advice [opinion]:
Paul’s “advice” was for the Corinthians to finish what they had begun. The following information is practical “advice” and not a command. Giving should come from one’s inner incentive motivated by what Christ has done for him.
It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago;
It was to the Corinthian church’s advantage to complete their offering to the Jerusalem church begun a year earlier. It was in their best interest to finish what they had started. Their original purpose had been to supply for the need in Jerusalem, but the Corinthians needed now to respond urgently to the Jerusalem situation.
but now you also must complete the doing of it;
The incompletion of doing what one started is to not finish a commitment. The Corinthians’ delay was an indication that called into question their initial willingness to give. Recognition of a need is not enough.
that as there was a readiness [eagerness] to desire it,
The Corinthians had a desire the previous year to contribute to the need in Jerusalem. The completion of their giving needed to be matched by their willingness to do it.
so there also may be a completion out of what you have.
Paul challenged the church to finish collecting for distressed believers in Jerusalem. They were to do so according to the means they possessed. The apostle did not ask them to go beyond their means. The principle is proportional giving (1 Co 16:2). A tithe is not proportional giving.
For if there is first a willing mind,
Giving must accord to one’s will and not from outside pressure or from a legalistic system. “Willing mind” expresses the spirit of giving.
it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
God expects us to give only from what we have, not from what we do not have. God honors small contributions if done with the right motivation.
God looks at our motivation, not our means, of giving.
The test of our giving is in our willingness, not in our wealth. The standard of giving to the Lord is conditioned by our willingness and means (the donor’s financial resources). The willingness to give should precede the doing.
All God expects of us when we give relates to how much we share with how much we have. We determine how much to give by linking it to how much we have. God measures our gift by the amount we have. The willingness to provide what we have is what counts. It is not the quantity of the gift but the quality of the giver. Those with abundant wealth should help others to a greater degree.
There is no credit for initial enthusiasm that dissolves before it is finished. God does not want us to give begrudgingly. A small gift is greater than the grandest intention that is not realized. Lack of resources is not an excuse not to give to the Lord.
All that God requires is to gift what we have, not what we do not have. This is giving in keeping with our ability. It may not be all that we wish to do but all that we can do. The test of generosity in giving is not wealth but willingness. We should share what we can while we have it. We should not give what we can no longer keep in death. It is a blessing to watch our giving put into action. To observe our money used to win people to Christ is an eternal joy.
The story of the poor widow’s offering is an example of someone who gave proportionally according to possession (Mark 12:41-44). She gave her full day’s wage. Her giving was equal to that of those who also sacrificially gave.