“It is profitable and fitting for you [now to complete the enterprise]… So now finish doing it, that your [enthusiastic] readiness in desiring it may be equalled by your completion of it according to your ability and means.”
- 2 Corinthians 8:11 AMP
Not long ago, I sensed the Lord leading me to begin a major project, one unlike anything I had ever done before. Even though I had misgivings and doubts, I went ahead and started the work, trusting the Lord for His help and direction. Then I got distracted and discouraged by some of the demands of daily living, and I put aside the project that I had begun. Not long afterwards, on two separate occasions, the Lord caused me to hear messages saying that His people were not going to fulfill their God-given purpose or potential while “sitting on the couch”. He would send opportunities our way, but it was up to us to take advantage of them. The Lord led me to a verse in Scripture which says: “It is profitable and fitting for you [now to complete the enterprise]… So now finish doing it, that your [enthusiastic] readiness in desiring it may be equalled by your completion of it according to your ability and means.” (2 Corinthians 8:11 AMP) I got the message. And I determined not to rest until I finished the work God assigned to me.
Notice that in this verse, the Lord says through the apostle Paul, “It is profitable and fitting for you now to complete the enterprise.” When God gives us an assignment, even though He doesn’t want us focusing on a reward, He always causes us to benefit somehow from our obedience. The book of Proverbs says, “All hard work brings a profit.” (Proverbs 14:23 NIV) Sometimes this means that we will profit financially or materially, and other times, our profit will be spiritual. Sometimes it will be a combination of rewards, including a breakthrough in an area where we need it most. When we perform the “hard work” that the Lord gives us to do, we can claim this promise and tell Him, “Lord, I’m trusting You to cause me to profit from this work.” The second half of this verse says, “But mere talk leads only to poverty.” We can’t expect God to reward us when we simply talk about the work He gives us, but fail to perform it.
The next part of Second Corinthians 8:11 (AMP) says, “So now finish it, that your enthusiastic readiness in desiring it may be equalled by your completion of it.” Notice how this verse stresses, “NOW finish it.” That’s because there is a specific time God has in mind for the completion of the tasks He assigns us. His timing is always perfect, and He will enable us to achieve the greatest benefit and success when we function in it. Sometimes we talk ourselves out of following God’s will and timing by thinking and talking about all the reasons why it isn’t convenient or practical for us. Solomon wisely said, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT) The Lord is not going to wait until we have nothing else to do or think about before He assigns us a project or task. His timing may seem wrong in our sight, but the truth is that when He initiates the work, it’s not only the right time, but the best time to begin.
It gives me great comfort that Second Corinthians 8:11 (AMP) ends with the words, “according to your ability and means”. God is not going to expect me to do something that He won’t equip and enable me to do. When He assigns us a task, He supplies us with all of the abilities, skills, creativity, and resources that we need to succeed. And if we commit our work to Him, and rely on His Spirit throughout the process, He will actually perform the work through us. As Scripture says, “I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me.” (Psalm 57:2 NASB) What a relief it is to know that we don’t have to serve the Lord in our own strength. Paul had the right attitude when he declared: “It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves. Our only power and success come from God. He is the one who has enabled us...” (2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NLT)
You and I have important work to do for the kingdom of God while we are on this earth. Let us heed the words of the Savior today: “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day”! (Luke 9:62 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, whenever You assign me a new task, remind me how important it is for me to complete the work according to Your perfect timing. Reassure me that You will equip me with everything I need to succeed. Thank You that I will profit in extraordinary ways as I follow Your lead!
- J. M. Farro