Monday, September 6, 2021
First Day of the Fast of the Holy Cross
II Corinthians 8:1-15
II Corinthians 8:1-15
 We want you to know, brethren, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedo’nia,
 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part.
 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will,
 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints —
 and this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
 Accordingly we have urged Titus that as he had already made a beginning, he should also complete among you this gracious work.
 Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us — see that you excel in this gracious work also.
 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.
 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
 And in this matter I give my advice: it is best for you now to complete what a year ago you began not only to do but to desire,
 so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.
 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not.
 I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened,
 but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality.
 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
 In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him, and said to them,
 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days, and have nothing to eat;
 and if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come a long way.”
 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these men with bread here in the desert?”
 And he asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven.”
 And he commanded the crowd to sit down on the ground; and he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd.
 And they had a few small fish; and having blessed them, he commanded that these also should be set before them.
 And they ate, and were satisfied; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.
 And there were about four thousand people.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America