Our missions conference verse is the first part of 2 Cor 8:14, “But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want…”. When you read this verse in its context, you understand that Paul is referring to a principle derived from the Old Testament when the Jews were living on manna in the wilderness.
Each morning, except on the sabbath, the men would go out and gather manna, Ex 16:16-18. Some would gather more and some would gather less than the others. When they returned from gathering, they would combine what they had gathered and mete it with an omer. Every man would receive an omer. When they had finished meting out all the manna, the ones who had gathered much had nothing over and the ones who had gathered little had no lack. They divided the manna by an equality and everyone ended up with an omer.
So, when Paul wrote the Corinthians, he applied this principle to them and the poor saints back in Judea. The saints in Judea were in real trouble because of a dearth, Acts 11:27-30. They were all saved, but the Corinthians were better off financially than the Jewish saints. In order to encourage them to help, Paul reminded the Corinthians of what God’s children did when they were in the wilderness.
Paul applied the principle of equality to this need. The Corinthians, by comparison to the Judeans, had abundance. The Judeans, by comparison to the Corinthians, had want.
To illustrate, imagine two containers of water. One container is three-quarters full. The other container is only one-quarter full. If these two containers are then attached to each other at their bases by a tube, what happens to the water in each. The water flows out of the fuller container until both are half full. There is an equality. If later, another half container of water is added to the container that originally was only one-quarter full, both containers would rise to three-quarters full.
Here’s the lesson for us before missions conference. At this time, we have abundance. At this same time, some Christians on some fields have want. Their needs exceed their supply. Therefore, our abundance may be a supply for their want. We will hear about these needs during the conference. And we will prayerfully consider what part of the supply God wants us to meet by an equality so that they have no lack. For another similar sermon see Equality.