Saturday, 7 March 2015

Desiring and completing

In the second letter to the Corinthians Paul gives some advice on giving money. He makes a comment which, while applying to money in the context, seems to have broader application.
And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. (2 Corinthians 8:10-11) 
Here was something (giving) which the Corinthians started to do. Not only did they begin to do this work, they desired to do it. Further, Paul says that the desire needs to be matched by finishing the work.

It is not enough to have a keen desire, the desire must both be acted on and completed. This corresponds to Jesus' parable about the 2 sons.
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” (Matthew 21:28-31)
Desire and intent is not enough, it must be matched by action. As James says,
You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (James 2:22-26)

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