“For even if I boast somewhat further about our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be put to shame.” (10:8)
We have varied gifts and talents, authorities and insights, for the purpose of edification, not intimidation. Whenever someone starts using their strength to dominate someone else, it is NOT in the Spirit of Christ. All gifts and blessings are made to be able to be passed forward. This also harkens back to chapter nine’s section on generosity.
“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (9:7)
Whenever generosity is a bummer, an impulse, or a burden, it’s missed the point. That’s not the kind of giving the LORD is looking for in His people. This isn’t to put anyone to shame. It should be liberating. No one is asking you to do something truly detrimental. Give out of a generous heart, knowing the Giver of all things continues to supply all our needs.
Sometimes we read this verse like the sermon on the mount. The command to not commit adultery is underlined by the existence of lust and we double down, attempting to pressure cook ourselves into righteousness. It’s painful! Having that in mind, we then lug ourselves over to the letter and see now, not only do we have to be generous, but we’ve got to be happy about it. NO! The point has been missed entirely in those cases!
If the New Testament is read like an elite marching order toward righteousness, we’re only going to kill ourselves. Jesus pointed out the existence of lust to declare the need for the LORD’s power in righteousness; His miraculous ability to change hearts and breathe life.
Generosity from a happy heart is evidence of a life revolutionized by the power of the gospel, by the experience of the Goodness of the LORD. Thankfulness, dependence and brotherly affection. These things are not mustered by ones own strength, they have a different source.
If these chapters evoke a groan or a level of shame, bring that understanding to LORD and ask Him to renovate it by His power. If you’re nervous about testing this generosity strategy, start small. Find a way to be generous with someone, today, with something you have! We all have something! We’re not asked to be generous with something we lack. Our different resources are to fill up each other’s deficits. Give and see if the LORD does not replenish. I assure you, He will.