«That in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality» (2 Corinthians 8:2).
IN 2 CORINTHIANS 8, the apostle Paul encourages the saints to contribute to the poor in Jerusalem; in doing so, he shows how important it is to help the needy. To motivate them, he recognizes their precious efforts and quotes the example of «our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich» (v. 9).
Also, the apostle recommends his friend Titus to the church (v. 6), a young minister and friend in the work of preaching the gospel.
Two lessons are highlighted in this chapter. The first refers to solidarity. When someone is in need, the local church should unite to help them. We should not wait for the government, other organizations, or «the organization» to offer help; the people closest to the one in need should demonstrate solidarity and support.
The second lesson refers to how Paul feels for his friend Titus, whom he recognizes and recommends as a faithful collaborator.
Solidarity is unconditional support to the causes and interests of others, especially in situations that are difficult. Solidarity is born in the heart of God, who renounced Himself and demonstrated His love by coming down, placing Himself at our level, and offering His life to pay our debt. He gave up His riches so that «through His poverty (we] might become rich» (2 Cor. 8:9).
In our daily interactions we miss out on a lot due to lack of mutual solidarity. Some are left trapped in their own selfishness without seeing the needs of others, and in this way, we do not fulfill the mission or the example the Lord has left for us. If God is our Father, we are all brothers and sisters, and depend on each other to be happy.
«He who seeks to transform humanity must himself understand humanity. Only through sympathy, faith, and love can men be reached and uplifted. Here Christ stands revealed as the Master Teacher; of all that ever dwelt on the earth, He alone has perfect understanding of the human soul» (Mind, Character, and Personality, p. 438). Helping people in need is not an option, but a lifestyle for those who have learned that all the riches and opportunities that we have should be used to help those in need.
«The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others» (Albert Schweitzer).