“I’ll pray for you.”
“I’d love to give money to support that gospel or mercy ministry.”
“I’ll be part of that Bible distribution.”
This is a raw topic for me. My heart pours out for every good work. I want to support gospel ministries and pray for people. On so many things, I have all the right intentions, but not all the right carry through.
Paul was aware of this when he wrote 2 Corinthians 8-9. Paul is gathering money from the Corinthians and the Macedonians for the Christian poor in Jerusalem. Here he talks about the importance of carrying through good intention:
Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you — see that you excel in this act of grace also. (8:6-7)
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. (8:11)
Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia … But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. (9:1-3)
The words are clear: he knows they have started the collection, they have been desiring to do a good work and they have been ready. The command for is for them and for us. Where there is a good intention, complete it: finish it well and do not prove empty.
On the other hand, we are limited human beings and can’t do everything—not even everything we want to do. So I’m not suggesting that we feel guilty. On the contrary, we just need to stop deluding ourselves into thinking that we have done something good when all we have done is thought about doing something good. Maybe we need to be like those older, wiser Christians who do not commit to do as many things, but carry through on everything to which they commit.
And maybe we need to be a little bit more like Paul and call on each other to fulfill the good intentions that we promise.