“For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:13–15, KJV)
I have made several moves from one residence to another and have helped others do the same. Generally, a group of people will arrive to load up a moving van. As I looked at the volunteers, I realized that some were very young, elementary aged. Some had physical limitations. Some were beasts that could lift heavy objects at ease. Some were thinkers who could organize things in the truck to maximize storage. Others were more mechanical and could disassemble things.
Yes, we would have a group of people, but not all were equal. Some could carry more than others. An outsider would say that those who could lift more contributed more. However, this was not the case. Everyone, weak and strong alike, worked hard together. The combination of all working together blessed the one moving by making a monumental job much easier and the completion faster. While there was inequality, there was equality.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians regarding a need of the saints in Jerusalem. It was one that would require a monetary contribution. Paul urged the church at Corinth to consider taking part in contributing to this Jerusalem relief collection. He wrote of the example of the believers in Macedonia, who were very poor, pleading with him for the privilege of giving to help build this fund up. He then challenged the church in Corinth to consider their example.
Yet, here Paul did not ask them to give the same amount that those in Macedonia did. Relatively speaking, the Macedonians had much less to contribute than those in Corinth. Paul’s divine concept of equality in contributing was not the same as that of the world.
Today there are benefactors who have immense wealth and give a small portion of their wealth to help others. Take someone who might have a million dollar a year salary. If that person gave ten-percent to a charity, he would give $100,000 a year. This would be impractical for someone who made $50,000 per year. This person with the lesser salary would give at the same percentage $5,000 a year. Not equal amounts, but equal percentages. Yet all this shows is that they are equal from a statistical point of view. Perhaps there is a higher view that believers should consider.
Perhaps we should really look at a divine view of being equal as it relates to caring for others. The equality that God desires is one of believers’ hearts. It is not a matter of the total amount that one gives. It is a matter of the heart. Those who have much are to give much and those that have little will give out of their lack. Yet both the rich and the poor will give from the heart. In fact, there are poor people who will give more than others who may have abundance because of what God has done in their hearts. We have the example in the widow who gave two copper coins (Luke 21:1-4). She gave from her heart all that she had and was commended.
We must realize that if we all give from hearts of devotion, we will be able to bless everyone who is in need. It is a joint effort of both the rich and the poor in the church, all providing an equal portion. Not in quantity, but in the quality of the heart of the giver.