We here a lot about governments boosting public confidence and encouraging people to spend money to stimulate the economy in a downturn.
Scripture shows how that we can, by our actions and words, stimulate one another to love and good works.
When Paul wrote the second Epistle to the Corinthians, there was a serious famine in Jerusalem. In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, Paul discusses the fact that the believers at Corinth had begun to collect money to send – see Chapter 8:10-11. It was a proof of their love – see 8:8, 24. He wanted them to complete the collection of their gift to be sent to Jerusalem that they had begun a year before – see Chap. 8:10.
Paul told them that their intention to give – and their beginning to do it – had “stimulated the mass of the brethren” in Macedonia, 2 Cor. 9:1-2.
Our actions can have far reaching effects beyond those immediately being served. Most times you will never know this side of the glory that your actions had an effect on others.
I had always known that when persons give, there are three parties that benefit; the receiver gets a direct blessing, of course – a need is met; he gives God thanks, so God is praised; and the givers have a blessing – “It is more blessed to give than receive”, (Acts 20:35). But now I see from this experience at Corinth, that in some cases others may be indirectly stimulated to “love and good works”, i.e. four parties may benefit. And it can multiply.
Paul declares this in 2 Cor. 9:11-13, “…which works in us thanksgiving to God. Because the ministration of this service is not only the filling up the measure of what is lacking to the saints [i.e. meeting the need], but also abounding by many thanksgivings to God; they glorifying God through ...”
Nor should we limit this stimulation to giving. In Hebrews 10:24, “and let us consider one another for provoking to love and good works”. It has a wide application, in all that we say and do. A steady and faithful life will have a stabilizing effect on others around.
Remember, if we say and do what is right, then someone, somewhere at sometime will get a blessing. It may be years later that a word spoken will bear fruit in the heart and conscience of persons.
MM August 2009