For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.We are indebted to share spiritually and materially with the saints, a.k.a. Christians. Paul is explaining his current status. He's on his way to Jerusalem to deliver a material gift to the poor Christians there from the Macedonians and Achaians. Twice, Paul repeats in verses 26 & 27, this pleased the Macedonians and Achaians and they were indebted. They owed the Christians in Jerusalem a favor. There seems to be a free interchange between a spiritual gift and a material gift.
It would seem the community of believers, Christians, are to be givers as God is a giver. In Romans 15 paints for us an incomplete list of God the a giver of...
- Holy Spirit
When you're giving you become very closely knit together. You become family. Recently, we had the pleasure of taking six little girls out for ice cream at the county fair. The golden heads had friends join us for the day and we teased them that they had become "DeWildes for the day." As one little friend began to throw her ice cream cone away because she was full, the engineer says, "Don't throw it away," somebody in our close knit "family" will eat it. (And they did.) Giving of time and resources made us family.
Therefore it's logical for Paul to say in verse 29, that when he finally is able to see the Romans eye to eye, he "will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ." I've never noticed that the presence of believers is the full blessing of Christ. Do I see that when I'm with other Christians? Being with them is an abundance, full measure of favor conferred from God to me. It is for my full benefit. My cup should overflow.
The intravert in me doesn't know exactly how to take this. Camping with 40 people from church recently was overwhelming. I confess a grumpy attitude. I was focused on myself and missed the full measure of God's bounty. Looking back, I see what a pleasure it is to surrounded by so many people who love and accept you for you.
Last week, at the county fair again reaffirmed this truth. In the swine barn, surrounded by "competitors" that wouldn't smile or say hello. Not in it for the cut-throat competition, this was difficult to be surrounded by closed, excluding people. Contrast that with coming across friends from church who were warm, open, and including: the full blessing of Christ.
What gifts can you give materially and spiritually? Pray that God reveals and convicts you of what you are to give and then be a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Do you feel indebted to anyone? Act on your God-given convictions (Romans 14:13-18) and watch as he knits you together with other believers and you begin to experience the full blessing of Christ.