“Overflowing in a Wealth of Generosity”
2 Corinthians 8
July 16, 2017
Faith Presbyterian Church – Evening Service
Pr. Steven Nicoletti
The Text & Context:
We are continuing to look at Second Corinthians tonight. Tonight we get to chapter eight, and we enter into a new section of the letter that includes chapters eight and nine.
And tonight’s text is a good example of one of the benefits (or drawbacks … depending how you look at it) that comes from preaching through books of the Bible. It forces us to look at texts we might not want to.
Many of us have topics we want to consider from God’s word. Maybe it is encouragement in Christ, or comfort in suffering. Maybe we want to grow in love or in kindness.
I think few of us want to hear about greed and generosity. I think few people getting ready to come back for evening church think to themselves “Man … I hope tonight I’ll hear about what I should do with my money and how greedy I am.”
And to be honest, I don’t want to really think or talk about that topic too much either!
But we are making our way through Second Corinthians, and tonight we arrive at chapter eight. And other than skipping two chapters, there is little we can do besides just dive in.
And so, let’s turn to Second Corinthians 8. A lot has come before this point in the letter, but in a larger sense, Paul is now getting to one of the main points of his epistle. Paul sent this letter with a delegation that included Titus and two other men. And now he is getting at why he sent those three men who handed this letter we are now reading to the Corinthians.
Now, I don’t usually make translation adjustments to the text, because my Greek is beyond rusty. But I’m going to make a couple adjustments as I read because they are safe ones. They don’t technically change the meaning, but they do bring out a theme that is maybe more under the surface in our ESV translation.
In the Greek, Paul uses the root for the word for “abundance” or “overflow” six times, though in various forms, as a noun or a verb. But the ESV uses three different words to translate those in this chapter – it uses abundance, overflow, and excel. I’m going to read them using the same root, and I’ll go with “overflow” or “overflowing” because it gives a bit of a more concrete sense to the word.
So, with that said, hear our text tonight, 2 Corinthians 8:
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their [overflow] abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you [overflow] excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you [overflow] excel in this act of grace also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 10 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. 11 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. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your [overflow] abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their [overflow] abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
16 But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. 18 With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. 19 And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will. 20 We take this course so that no one should blame us about this generous gift that is being administered by us, 21 for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man. 22 And with them we are sending our brother whom we have often tested and found earnest in many matters, but who is now more earnest than ever because of his great confidence in you. 23 As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.
This is God’s Word.
Let’s start by getting a sense of what Paul is asking the Corinthians for.
An important piece of Paul’s ministry, as he traveled and ministered to Gentile churches, was to take up a significant collection from them, which, once he had all of it together, he would present to the impoverished church in Jerusalem. This collection and gift had a lot of significance. It had significance first, of course, because God’s people in Jerusalem were in need, they were struggling, and it was important for other Christians to come to their aid. So that was significant. But it was also significant because these were Jewish Christians in need, and the collection was being taken up from Gentile Christians.
Before they became Christians, these impoverished Jewish believers would have been taken care of by the Jewish charity structure in Jerusalem. The Jews cared for each other’s needs. They did it better sometimes than at other times, but they knew that they were to care for the poor amidst their number. But when these Jewish Christians professed their faith in and allegiance to Christ, their fellow Jews no longer considered them one of their own. They cut them off from the funds for the poor in Jerusalem. And then on top of that, they persecuted them. And so these impoverished Jewish Christians were facing severe trials.
Not only that, but Paul hoped for this collection and gift to make an important statement to the Jewish Christians. These Jewish Christians in Jerusalem struggled with the idea that their first identity, their primary kinship, was now with their fellow Christians rather than their fellow Jews. Paul’s collection among the Gentiles for the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem was meant to show that truth to them through love. The non-believing Jews might reject these new Jewish Christians. But the non-Jewish Christians, the Gentile Christians, were ready to treat them like family. The Gentile Christians were ready to provide for them, and call them brothers and sisters in Christ.
So the collection was important for a lot of reasons.
Paul is clear that giving to the collection was not a requirement. It was not a command from God, and not a law he would impose on them as an apostle. He was appealing to and pleading with them, not commanding them. But still he hoped they would give.
And the Corinthians, during an earlier visit, had agreed that they would give. They saw the importance of the collection, and they pledged to contribute to it in a meaningful way.
But now the report has come to Paul that they’re not really doing it. They’re not really getting the funds together. As enthusiastic as they might have been at the beginning, it is now unclear that they will give what they said they would.
Now Paul has to deal with a delicate situation. He has to approach this carefully, and he does. We have been reading of all the tension and struggles that have come up between Paul and the Corinthians. And now he has to talk to them about money. About their money. It’s not an easy thing.
But Paul is a wise communicator and a loving pastor. He speaks well to the Corinthians, and his words have something for us as well.
In the text we have just read Paul lays out, somewhat subtly, how the Corinthians are avoiding giving, and then he gives five things they should consider as to why they should give.
So let’s ask those two questions not only of the Corinthians, but also of ourselves:
First, how do we often avoid giving?
And second, what should we consider about why we should give more than we do right now?
And there will be five answers to that second question, but I will do my best to keep them as brief as I can.
The Problem: How Do We Avoid “Overflowing” Financially?
So first, how do we often avoid giving?
I said earlier that Paul repeats that word “overflow” in this passage, and that actually is one of the key elements in understanding the answer he gives to that question here.
Paul brings it up in verses six and seven. In verse six, Paul re-introduces the topic of the collection, and then in verse seven he, somewhat delicately, points to an underlying reason as to why the Corinthians are avoiding giving to this collection. He says to them: “7 But as you [overflow] excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you [overflow] excel in this act of grace also.”
Paul is noting that there are a variety of ways that God blesses his people with abundance, with some kind of spiritual overflow that they can then use to bless others. And we are all called to see how God has blessed us, and how we can share that overflow with others. But Paul also brings up that there are some kinds of overflow we like sharing more than others.
The Corinthians, you may remember from First Corinthians, had a special interest in miraculous and revelatory spiritual gifts as well as oratory gifts. For them, those are the kind of spiritual overflow they like to share. And so in verse seven here “faith” is likely a reference to miracle-working faith, “speech” is likely a form of charismatic speech, and “knowledge” is probably a kind of theological understanding. “Earnestness” and “our love for you” seem to relate to their relationship to Paul, which also benefits them.
As one commentator puts it: “The Corinthians were strong in activities that are local to and centered on them, […] but weak on those that are for the benefit of those outside.” [Barnett, 403]
In other words, the Corinthians had certain ways they liked to allow their blessings to overflow, and certain ways they didn’t. Theological knowledge to share with others around them – that they liked. A special revelation to proclaim to those they worshiped with – also a good one. But giving their money to a church hundreds of miles away, which they would see no return on in their own lives … that they did not like so much. That was not their preferred way to overflow.
And we’re not that different, are we? We have certain ways we like to let God’s blessing overflow from our lives into the lives of others. Overflowing in ways that somehow indirectly benefit us as well can be especially nice. But regardless of that, sometimes there are just some ways that we enjoy blessing other people more than other ways. That itself is not necessarily a problem. What is a problem, according to Paul, is when we only want to let God’s overflow in our lives bless other people in the ways that we prefer. When we refuse to share the overflow of our lives with others in certain ways.
And it does seem to be a minority of Christians overall who really enjoy sacrificially giving away their money. I mean, those people do exist … but there’s not a lot of them. Most of us would rather find another way to serve.
Generally speaking, we don’t like to give our money away to the extent that it really costs us something. When God blesses us financially, we don’t want to let it overflow into the lives of others. We’d prefer to build bigger barns. At least I know I would.
And Paul says this is a problem. It is a problem for the Corinthians, and it is a problem for us. And I think most of us know it is a problem for us. It is why it’s not that hard to write a sermon on giving that induces guilt – because we already feel a bit guilty.
But Paul’s goal is not to just make the Corinthians feel guilty. His goal is to nurture in them a greater desire to give. He is not trying to compel or manipulate them into giving, but to fan into flame a desire in their hearts to give. And he does that in this chapter by encouraging them to consider five things. And all I want to do tonight is walk through this chapter and reflect on those five things and how they should affect our hearts in the area of giving. So let’s look more closely at our passage and do just that.
Consideration #1: Those Who Have Less
The first piece of this chapter is in verses 1-5. You can take a look at them. In these verses, Paul begins his appeal to the Corinthians about giving by asking them first to consider those who have less, but have still given generously. He describes how the Macedonian Christians are experiencing “extreme poverty” and “affliction,” but even so, they have given generously. What is Paul doing here?
Now … I don’t think that Paul here is trying to manipulate the Corinthians into giving … and I don’t think he’s trying to provoke rivalry between the Corinthians and the Macedonians.
What I think he’s doing is pointing the Corinthians to the Macedonians as a sort of reality-check.
Tim Keller tells the story of one time when he was teaching a seven-part series on the seven deadly sins, at a gathering outside of Sunday worship. Each gathering had a lecture focused on one of the traditional seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride.
Early in the series his wife predicted to him that the lowest attended session would be the one focused on greed.
And she was right.
Keller reflects on this – he writes: “People packed it out for ‘Lust’ and ‘Wrath’ and even for ‘Pride.’ But nobody thinks they are greedy.” He goes on: “As a pastor I’ve had people come to me to confess that they struggle with almost every kind of sin. Almost. I cannot recall anyone ever coming to me and saying, ‘I spend too much money on myself. I think my greedy lust for money is harming my family, my soul, and people around me.’ Greed hides itself from the victim.”
And how does it do that? Well, Keller goes on to point out that most of us live in a particular socioeconomic bracket. And once we establish ourselves in that bracket, we really only look in two directions financially: we look over at others who live as we do, and we look up at those who have more. And we particularly notice those who have more than we do. And we compare ourselves. And we think about how we don’t live nearly so well as those other people. And we maybe even pat ourselves on the back for being more modest and more generous (at least we think) than they are. [Keller, 52-53]
And as long as we do that, we can tell ourselves that our means are modest no matter how wealthy we are. According to a 2014 Pew Study, only 2% of Americans identify themselves as upper class. J.D. Vance, who grew up poor in a post-industrial town in Ohio but then went on to attend Yale Law School, talks about what a strange experience it was for him to hear a student tell him that their family, which had a surgeon mother and an engineer father, was “middle class.” [Vance, 204]. But if we’re always looking at those above us, we can always believe that we don’t have that much. And therefore, we don’t have that much to give.
What Paul does in verses 1-5 is to tell the Corinthians to do the opposite. He tells them to look at those who have less. And particularly at those who have less, but are still overflowing with generosity.
The goal is not to guilt them, it is to give them perspective. The Corinthians think they don’t have much to give. So Paul encourages them to consider the Macedonians – who face, in Paul’s words, “extreme poverty,” but are willingly and joyfully giving anyway.
Can you consider those who have less than you do? Can you consider those who have less but give more?
I don’t mean by that question, of course, that those with less are inherently more generous. But I imagine that you know someone who has less than you and is still more generous than you are. How many people can you name – in your head, please – whom you’ve spent time thinking about, and maybe grumbling in your head about, regarding how they have more than you do, and maybe even that you bet they’re less generous than you are, or would be? How many?
Now, how many people have you spent as much time thinking about because they have less than you do but are still more generous? I bet you are surrounded by both types of people but you spend far more time thinking about the first, rather than the second.
What would happen to you – to your thinking, to your heart, to how you view what you have, to how you spend your money – if you spent more time looking at the second kind of person?
It doesn’t even have to be someone you know personally – it wasn’t for the Corinthians! Read an article or a book or watch a documentary about the struggles of those who have been less materially blessed than you have. Get some actual perspective on how much you have, by taking your eyes off those above you and looking more broadly. And especially note when those who have less than you do give it away more freely to others in need.
That is the first thing Paul urges the Corinthians to consider.
Consideration #2: Jesus
Second, Paul urges them to consider Jesus. He does this in verses eight and nine. He writes:
“8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
Paul here urges us to consider Jesus – and really to consider our Christology. Paul is saying that the time when we need to really think about our theology of the incarnation is when it’s time to write our check to some important cause for the kingdom of God.
N.T. Wright comments on verse nine – he says:
“Verse 9 has been made famous through a well-known Christmas hymn written by F. Houton [which contains the line]: ‘Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor / All for love’s sake becamest poor.’” Wright goes on: “It sometimes surprises people, when they wonder where that idea came from, that it isn’t in a great passage about the heights and depths of incarnational theology, discussing in wonderful detail all the complex questions about how Jesus can be both God and man, but instead in a passage which is basically saying ‘Isn’t it time you finished taking up the collection?’ And yet, [Wright continues] on second thoughts, perhaps this passage is about the heights in depths of incarnational theology; because if theology is truly incarnational, truly the way in which the eternal God took human flesh, and lived and died as one of us, the best way of expressing this is not in flights of abstract theory, leaving us with a nice set of well-organized ideas and beliefs, but in the practical, down-to-earth and often messy details of ordinary life.” [Wright, 89-90]
Let me state more directly what I think Wright is getting at … and what it seems pretty clearly to me that Paul is saying: The best indication of how much each of us really believes the doctrines of the incarnation and the atonement – the best indication of how much each of us really believes that the eternal God became man, and then died a sacrificial death for us, the best indication of how much we believe that is how generous we are with our money.
Because if we really believed that, if we thoroughly believed that, not just in our heads, not just on paper, but down in our guts, then how could we not give our money away generously for the good of God’s people and kingdom? How could we cling to the money we have when we know how in Jesus God poured himself out for us? How could we do that?
This gives us two angles to consider: one for evaluation, and one for personal growth. First, if we want to know how much we believe the gospel down in our guts, we should look at our bank statement and consider how we spend our money. Second, if we want to grow in generosity, we should consider the incarnation and the sacrifice of Christ made for us. We should meditate on it. We should pray about it. We should read about it and sing about it. And then we should do the hard work of expressing that theological truth in action – including in what we do with our money.
That is the second thing Paul urges us to consider.
Consideration #3: Our Past Holy Intentions
Third, Paul encourages us to consider our past intentions. Paul encourages us to consider our holy impulses – including, and maybe especially, the holy impulses we are not following through on. He does this in verses 10 and 11. Paul writes:
“10 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. 11 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.”
Paul is basically saying: “Remember about a year ago when you really wanted to support these poverty-stricken Christians in Jerusalem? That was great that you wanted to do that. And now it’s time to follow through and make it happen.”
And we’ve all been there, I think, right? At least most of us have. We hear about a great need. Maybe we see a presentation about it. Maybe we read about it. Maybe we just encounter a ministry or a need we think is really important. And we decide we’re going to do it. We’re going to give to this work. We’re going to make the sacrifice to make it happen. And we’re excited. And we’re glad.
But then we never write the check. We never set up the automatic withdrawals. We never send in the commitment card. We never do it. And the idea fades into our memory.
You see, when we think about giving to something, we lay hold of a vision, and we get excited. We see what the money will do for that need. We think about the blessing it will be. We think about the kind of people we will be if we support this need. At this point the excitement of the vision is really high, and the cost to us is really low. We’re just thinking about giving at that point. And that doesn’t cost anything.
The problem comes when the vision starts to fade, and the cost starts to become real. And at some point the cost seems to outweigh the vision, and then following through on our good intentions is not so easy.
It’s sort of like putting yourself on a diet. When you’re thinking about starting your diet next week, it’s kind of exciting. You think about how much weight you’ll lose. You think about how healthy you’ll be and feel. You think about how you’ll look.
But when it actually is next week, and your favorite high-calorie treat is sitting across the table from you, that is when your diet does not seem so exciting. The vision has faded, and the cost is staring you right in the face.
Of course, at that point the key is to recapture the vision. To push yourself to think about what excited you about the diet a week earlier. To push yourself to remember why you are doing this and what the benefits will be. To fan into flame the vision you had so that it once again exceeds the cost you must pay right now.
And that is basically what Paul is telling the Corinthians to do. He is pushing them to recapture the vision they had for this collection a year earlier. He is reminding them of their earlier desire. He is asking them to think about it. He is asking them to let that vision recapture their imaginations as it did a year before, so that they can follow through on it and complete the collection now.
So the third thing Paul encourages us to do is to work to keep up the vision we once had for the giving we intended to do.
Consideration #4: The Source of Our Blessings
Fourth, Paul urges the Corinthians to consider the source of what they have. He does this in verses 12 through 15 where he writes:
12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.13 For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness 14 your [overflow] abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their [overflow] abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 15 As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”
The key to Paul’s point in these verses comes in verse 15, at the end. In verse 15 Paul quotes from Exodus 16:18. Exodus 16 is about God providing the Israelites with manna in the wilderness. When God led his people Israel into the desert, he fed them. He tells them in Exodus 16:4 “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day.” God would feed his people in the wilderness. And so the people would go out, and they were commanded to gather the manna, and then to get together and measure out what had been gathered, and each take one omer of it for every person in their household, for them to eat that day. No matter how much you personally gathered, you were only supposed to take home what your family needed for that day. And those who gathered less would take home more than they gathered, but still what they needed.
And in that situation it was very easy to see why that should be. When God fed his people with manna it was very clear where their food was coming from. It was very clear that the Israelites did not create it themselves. It was very clear that every bite of food they received was a gift from their loving Creator. It was clear that they were not entitled to any of it because they did not make it. Their only role was in gathering up the gift of God, and so how could they lay claim to more than they needed and deny it to others?
Paul is pointing out to the Corinthians that even though what they have did not drop directly from the heavens like the manna did, all the same principles hold true. The Corinthians did not truly create what they have. Sure, they worked to acquire it, but all they have has been provided by God. Their work for it is merely a variation on gathering God’s overflowing blessing. The Jewish Christians in Jerusalem are in poverty. It is not because they refuse to work, but from forces outside their control. If all that the Corinthians possess is a gift, shouldn’t they share that gift with the Christians in Jerusalem? Paul is not trying to make the Christians in Jerusalem richer than the Corinthians, and he’s not asking the Corinthians to give to a level where they could not provide for themselves or their household. He is only trying to distribute God’s blessings a bit more evenly among them, and he is explaining that that is fair because they are all in the same position – they are all just trying to gather the blessings of God that they neither merited nor created themselves. And if the situation were reversed, Paul assures them that it would be fair for the Christians in Jerusalem to be sharing what they have with the Corinthians.
If all we have is from God, then when his blessings overflow to us – when we gather more than we need, and when our brothers and sisters in Christ are in extreme want because of forces outside their control, then isn’t it only right that we share what we have with them?
So Paul points us to the Israelites in the wilderness. Everything we have is manna. Yes, you may have worked very hard to gather what you have. That is a good thing. But it’s still manna. It’s still a blessing you did not create from nothing. It is still bread from heaven. Will we withhold it from our brothers and sisters who are in need? If the tables were turned, would we want them to withhold it from us?
The fourth thing Paul does in this text is to ask us to consider such questions.
Consideration #5: Those Who Are Asking
Fifth and finally, we should consider who it is that is asking for the money. I won’t re-read verses 16-23, but in those verses Paul commends the three men he is sending to take the collection: Titus and two unnamed men.
Paul both commends the men taking the collection, and he encourages the Corinthians to consider their character.
He does this first to encourage the Corinthians to see that they are handling the money in a way that is above reproach. God does not expect us to hand our money over to just anyone, but to exercise wisdom.
But beyond that, I think Paul’s drawing their attention to those taking the collection does something else as well. When a missionary or some other worker from some organization comes to ask for money for a ministry, it is easy for us to think just about what this will cost us. But truly looking at the worker or missionary who is fundraising should have a different effect on us – at least if we are thinking of giving to the right kind of ministry. Looking at that worker should remind us that they, and others like them, are giving far more to this need than we are. We are being asked to give a certain amount of money. But they are giving a portion of their lives to this work: their time, their effort, their potential income (had they pursued a different line of work). Titus and the other two men could have been living much more comfortable lives, had they chosen not to take part in this ministry and collection. But there they are, giving far more than they are asking of the Corinthians. Recognizing that should put things in perspective.
This is the fifth and final thing Paul encourages us to consider in this chapter.
Paul encourages us to consider those who have less than we do but still exercise more generosity.
He encourages us to consider Christ, who became poor in much more significant and cosmic terms, for our sake.
He encourages us to consider and nurture the initial vision we have for giving to an important cause or ministry.
He encourages us to remember where the blessings we have come from.
And finally, he encourages us to consider the workers who are requesting support from us.
He ends in verse 24, saying, “So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.”
Paul sees our actions as a kind of proof for who we are and what we believe. Our actions say something about us.
St. Francis of Assisi was a big proponent of preaching by word. He himself was a preacher. Many of the early Franciscans were formally designated for preaching. Yet as important as he thought preaching was, Francis knew it was more a matter of a man’s gifting than the state of his heart, and it was a task given to some, and not all.
And so he exhorted the men who follow him, saying, “Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds.” [“The Early Rule” XVII.3].
Francis knew, as Paul expresses here, that our deeds preach what we believe in our guts. So what do our deeds when it comes to money say about us?
In some ways, our deeds probably do reflect the gospel – we see ways that we have grown over the years in our generosity and in our giving. We see ways that we have grown in being content with less. We should be encouraged. These areas of growth reflect a growth in our faith.
But most of us likely also see areas we need to grow, ways in which our deeds preach something other than the gospel.
Let us seek to believe the gospel more deeply in our hearts, and then preach it more consistently in our deeds – especially in those areas where we find it more difficult.
And let us not be discouraged. Paul here encourages the Corinthians to finish what they started. He can do this because he knows that we serve a God who finishes what he has started in us. As he says to the Philippians: “He who began a good work in you, will bring it to completion” [Phil. 1:6]. And that is where we find our hope.
This sermon draws on material from:
Barnett, Paul. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. NICNT. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997.
Francis of Assisi. “The Earlier Rule” in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, Vol I: The Saint. Edited by Regis J. Armstrong, et al. New York: New City Press, 1999. Page 75.
Keller, Timothy. Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters. New York, NY: Dutton, 2009.
Morin, Rich and Seth Motel. “A Third of Americans Now Say They Are in the Lower Class” September 10, 2012. Pew Research Center. Accessed July 15, 2017. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/09/10/a-third-of-americans-now-say-they-are-in-the-lower-classes/
Vance, J.D. Hillbilly Elegy. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2016.
Wright, N.T. Paul for Everyone: 2 Corinthians. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.