2 Corinthians 8:14
The Greek word for “equality” in this verse is isotetos which means having an equal state or proportion. In geometry, an isosceles triangle is a triangle that has two sides of equal length. The equality spoken of here in 2 Corinthians 8 communicates the idea of equal sides and angles on a triangle. Interestingly, a triangle that has 3 equal sides (Equilateral Triangle) is not used by Paul to communicate the principle of equality.
The word isotetos is only used one other place in the New Testament and that is Colossians 4:1 where it says:
Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
The word “just” simply means that which is right or righteous. The word “equal” is the word isotetos and means an equal proportion. It is fairly easy to grasp the meaning of “just” or “right” but how and why is the word “equal” used in relation to the wages a master gives his servants? Perhaps if the word were translated “equitable” it would be easier to understand.
Equitable is characterized by justice, fairness and impartiality toward those involved. Very simply put, the word “just” would be RIGHT and the word “equal” would be FAIR. The implication is that everyone is treated in the same way with no partiality or playing favorites.
God desires there to be “equality” among His people when it comes to their needs being supplied. God is an impartial God and will never slip a little extra to one person because He likes them more. God is righteous and God is fair. God's will among the Body of Christ, is an equality based on the willingness of all to share their abundance with those in need.
This concept really doesn't have to be complicated. If I have five loaves of bread but only need four, I have an abundance of one loaf. What do I do with that abundance? Do I hoard it and watch it spoil or do I find someone who needs one more loaf to have their needs met? Of course the Godly and loving answer is the latter.
There are indeed times when God supplies our needs in and of Himself. But, most of the time His will is that one believer's need is supplied through the abundance of another believer. This concept of equality is brought up in Exodus 16 when God first gave His people Manna. In fact, 2 Corinthians 8:15 is a direct quote from Exodus 16:18.
Some people have complained that the concept of equality among believers is “unfair” and “socialistic” . Isn't it a bit ironic that what God calls fair, people call unfair? People don't like this concept because it means they are supposed to GIVE of what they don't need instead of accumulating more and more of it. People don't like the idea of sharing their “hard earned” cash with those who are “lazy” , sick or for whatever the reason, unable to get their needs met on their own.
Ultimately, that which hinders God's will when it comes to seeing His people's needs met is the selfishness and greed in their hearts. If God's people would stop clutching their possessions to their heart while crying “MINE” and instead hold them out to others saying “YOURS” , there could and would be an equality.
Once again, like in so many great pearls of wisdom in God's Word, the truth is simple but not easy for some to see or do. If you have more than you need, you should be seeking ways to share it with those who have a need for what you have. Whether money, food, furniture, clothing, books, televisions or whatever; if you do not need it, why not share it with someone who does?