The Principle of Willingness

“For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” (II Corinthians 8:12)

This scripture should be a great encouragement to every Christian who wanted to do something for the Lord, but who was unable.

Here the Apostle Paul, writing about the Corinthian church and their preparation of gifts for the relief of suffering Christians in Jerusalem, indicates that God credits a person with what they DESIRE to do, not merely what they are actually ABLE to.

He writes: “For if the readiness is present” (in other words, if they WANT to give) then “it is acceptable” (in other words, it finds favor with God) “according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have”.  This indicates what we might a call “Principle of Willingness”, that we will be rewarded and blessed by God, NOT merely according what we actually give, or do, but by what we really WANT to give or do.

This actually could apply to a number of other areas of the Christian life as well.  Perhaps a person wanted to have a long worship & prayer time with the Lord, but they were interrupted by things beyond your control, or a church member wanted to make a visit to minister or witness to someone, but the person was not at home.  This principle means that God will reward us not merely by what we actually “did”, but by what we WANTED to do.

This should not be taken as an excuse not to actually act, or give, or do, but it can also serve as an encouragement to those who genuinely hope to do something for God but are unable.  He will bless our willing heart.  And we should not be surprised at that, because the scripture repeatedly indicates that it is the HEART — what we desire — that really matters to God anyway.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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