Generosity (4): The Principle of Equality
|Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. 14 At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, 15 as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little." (2Corinthians8:13-15)|
The gaps between the "have's" and the "have not's" can be complicated. They can have historical and political roots. They can be based on culture, class, language, gender, race, and geography. There are compelling studies in some big cities where two children growing up 1km away from each other can have vastly different futures simply because of their family of origin or the schools they attend.
In our own country there is talk of compensation, land distribution and restitution. I am not smart enough or wise enough to weigh in on these difficult and complex challenges from an economic or political angle. I can only approach these challenges from the truth of Scripture and Paul helps me by placing the quest for equality in the context of generosity.
He draws on the Old Testament story of the distribution of manna when he quotes "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little" from Ex16:18. The NIV Study Bible explains that often the elderly weren't able to gather enough, but that the young often energetically gathered more than was needed and would share (this was helped by the fact that stockpiled manna went mouldy!) Generosity would balance the scales.
When we have been blessed we should be generous.
Although it doesn't go mouldy overnight, earthly wealth is still temporary - it doesn't last into eternity.
For those of use who have been blessed with health, energy, education and wealth we should always remember, to whom much is given, much is required. Biblically speaking the challenges of inequality are best dealt with when the "have's" are generous.
Because who knows? Maybe one day the roles are reversed...