The Offering of the Gentiles
One economic endeavor of signal importance for the apostle Paul was the monetary fund that he organized among the largely Gentile congregations of his mission for the Jewish-Christian community in Jerusalem. David J. Downs explores this collection in its chronological, cultural, and cultic contexts. Downs contends that Paul metaphorically frames his readers´ responsive participation in the collection as an act of cultic worship, thus underscoring the point that the fulfillment of mutual obligations within the community of believers results in praise, not human benefactors, but to God, the one from whom all benefactions come. This rhetorical strategy suggests that even the very human action of raising money for those in material need originates in "the grace (charis) of God" and will eventuate in "thanksgiving (charis) to God" (2 Cor 9:14-15).