2 Corinthians 8:12
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man has, and not according to that he has not.
We are led to judge of our own merits by considering what we would do if we were in situations different from that in which we have been placed. Had we unbounded wealth, we say, how would we use it for the benefit and happiness of mankind! Had we our place among the mighty of this world, what a field should we have for doing good! Thus we lose ourselves in vain imaginations, in mere dreams of fancied usefulness. And why is this but because we forget the words of the apostle, God accepts a man "according to that which he hath, not according to that which he hath not." Thus, then, it seems that it is a mistake for a man to dwell upon what he "hath not"; let him rather apply himself seriously to consider what he "hath." And here every one will most surely find that he has enough. And some things there must be which every man hath; some of the duties of life must be in the power of every one; he is a son, or a parent, and then how much opportunity he has for forbearance, and succour, and self-denial: or he has friends, or he has enemies, and this enables him to exercise the Christian graces of forgiveness. But while he sees in it abundant matter of serious self-examination, it suggests also equally strong motives of consolation. God accepts according to what a man hath, not according to what he hath not. If it be asked, why we are thus accepted in the sight of God, we may be assured that it is not for the works' sake. When we have done all, be it more or less, we can only say we are unprofitable servants. And yet there is One, for whose sake they are accepted, as the tests and fruits of faith. "A willing mind," this is the sacrifice required on our part; and what does this expression imply? In the meaning of Scripture, more perhaps than we should at first suppose; it implies a sincere disposition to submit to God in all things, to be led by Him, without any reference to the degree in which such conduct may interfere with our own selfish inclinations and objects. The absence of a willing mind is seen in the case of those who say that they intend at some future time to repent. We have all our opportunities and means of serving God. We have seen that those opportunities may be greater or less. If they are greater, our responsibilities will also be greater.
(H. W. Sulivan, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.