“I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied” (I Cor. 16:17).
Sad, was it not, that the Corinthian church, undoubtedly the largest of all the churches founded by Paul, had been so ungenerous and insensitive, even to Paul’s personal needs, that he had to labor at tentmaking in order to minister among them. They did not even provide for the Apostle’s meager needs. Thus, sadly, he writes:
“And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself” (II Cor. 11:9).
It was no different where the work of the Lord in general was concerned, for whereas the churches of Macedonia had, out of “great trial of affliction” and “deep poverty,” given “to their power” and had desired to give “beyond their power,” the Apostle had to exhort the Corinthian believers to “perform” their promises to help “the poor saints at Jerusalem” and to “prove the sincerity of [their] love” (II Cor. 8:8,11).
Those who suppose that men of God should remind believers to live godly lives, to labor for Christ and to witness for Him, but that for some reason they should not remind them of their responsibility to contribute of their means — these should read Paul’s letters to the believers at Corinth and see how much the Apostle has to say about this matter.
It seems that others were always bearing the Corinthians’ financial responsibilities for them, so that he had to write from Philippi with a touch of reproof, that he was glad for the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, since: “that which was lacking on your part they have supplied” (I Cor. 16:17).
In many ways the Church of today is like the Corinthian church of Paul’s day. This is surely so where financial stewardship is concerned. Again, it is invariably the faithful few who supply “that which is lacking” on the part of the many. These few will be richly rewarded, but it is our desire, as it was Paul’s, that greater numbers of the many may join the few, both to lighten the burden of the few and to help reach the teeming millions of lost and bewildered souls who so sorely need a clear presentation of “the gospel of the grace of God.”
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.