“Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.” (2 Corinthians 8:24, KJV)
When I worked for a company in Zurich Switzerland, the company hired a man as the manager to take over the office in which I worked. Knowing that the director loved to snow ski, he boasted about his being an avid skier. Sometime after he came on board, he went on a business trip to the office in Switzerland. It was springtime and on the weekend the director of the company invited him to go skiing in the Alps. After he returned from his trip, he did not say too much about his ski weekend.
A month or so later, the director of the company came to the U.S. office. He made the comment that the man was no skier, that he spent a lot of time falling. Now many will fall when they ski. Even some of the best skiers in the world will fall on occasion, but not continuously. I knew the mountain on which they skied in Switzerland for I had skied on the same one on several trips. I also knew that in the springtime the lower altitudes on this mountain the snow would be wetter than at the top with some patches of red mud exposed. One would have to ski around the patches of mud to get to the bottom. Now while I did not see a picture the director’s comments gave me quite a visual. By the time our new office manager got to the bottom, he was apparently covered with mud from head to toe. While by his words, he was an avid skier but by his action on the skis painted a different picture. Actions speak louder than words.
Historically there was much animosity between the Jews and Gentiles. This animosity had been going on for hundreds of years. It even spilled over to the early church. Early on the Jewish believers were concerned that the Gentile believers were not holding to the practices of the Jews regarding circumcision, the feasts, and food. For a host of reasons, Paul wanted to ensure that the Jerusalem church would see the churches in the Gentile regions in the most positive light.
Paul in this one verse sums up his desire. He wanted the Corinthian church to participate in the offering as a proof of their love. Their action in this matter would demonstrate to the churches in Jerusalem and in the Gentile regions the genuineness of their love.
Their participation would also validate what Paul stated about the church in Corinth. He indicated that he and his team had boasted about them. Paul was confident that the Lord was working in the church at Corinth. If not, he would not have boasted on their behalf. Thus, their gift would not come from external compulsion. It would flow forth out of the abundance of love in their hearts.
The love they had is a vital point. You see, there are two ways to do things. One is in surrender to outward pressure, external compulsion. The other is to respond to the unction of the heart. One is legalistic. The other is not. That which is born of external compulsion never seems to last for long. It also is disingenuous. Yet the love which the Holy Spirit stirs in the heart is genuine and does not waver.
One of the marks of true faith is the manifestation of Christ’s love in the believer. John wrote much on the manifestation of love in those who truly believe (1 John 4:7-21). “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7–8, KJV). Meditate on these words and examine your own hearts. Out of the abundance of the heart, actions speak.